Oct. 16, 2012 – Retail sales appeared to regain momentum in September, but much of the 1.1 percent overall increase was due to the release of the iPhone 5 and increased gas prices, noted NAFCU Chief Economist David Carrier.
The Census Bureau, which reported the data Monday, also revised up August’s retail sales to 1.2 percent.
While the numbers represent an improvement from the April-to-June period of month-to-month declines, Carrier said September’s overall growth would have been tepid without the release of the iPhone 5 and higher gas prices.
Core retail sales, which exclude autos and gas, advanced only 0.9 percent for September and 0.3 percent in August, he noted. “As long as unemployment remains high and businesses continue to postpone hiring, consumer spending and core retail sales growth can be expected to remain weak,” Carrier cautioned.
Electronics and appliances led September’s retail sales growth with a 4.5 percent increase. That was followed by a 2.5 percent increase at gas stations. Other retail sales contributors included motor vehicle and parts dealers (1.3 percent), food and beverages (1.2 percent) and building material and garden supply stores (1.1 percent).
Sales were slowest for general merchandise (0.3 percent), furniture (0.4 percent), food service (0.4 percent) and clothing and accessories (0.6 percent).
For more, view NAFCU's Macro Data Flash.