On Friday, October 14, the Census Bureau reported that retail and food services sales in the U.S. economy increased 0.6% in September from the previous month.
In its advanced estimates, the Census Bureau said retail and food services sales in September amounted to $459.8 billion. This was 2.7% higher than the September 2015 figures. For July through September, these sales were up 2.4% year-over-year.
The advance estimates by the Census Bureau are based on a sample of 4,700 retailers and food services companies in the U.S. The advanced estimates are to be revised later on.
In September, the Census Bureau revised August figures. It said retail and food services sales in August declined 0.2% compared to the 0.3% originally reported.
Retail trade sales in the U.S. economy were up 0.6% in September and up 2.2% from September of 2015.
Digging Deeper into the Report
Excluding the motor vehicle and parts sales, the advance retail and food services sales for the month of September increased 0.5% from August and 2.7% year-over-year.
Electronics, appliance, and general merchandise stores witnessed a decline in sales from August and from September of 2015. Health and personal care stores reported a decline of 0.5% for the month, but their sales were up 5.4% year-over-year.
Motor vehicle and parts dealers; furniture and home furnishing stores; building material, garden equipment, and garden supplies dealers; gasoline stations; sporting goods stores; hobby, book, and music stores; miscellaneous store retailers; non-store retailers; and food services and drinking places saw their sales increase in September from August and year-over-year.
Non-store retailers showed the best performance. Their sales in September of 2016 were 10.6%, higher than September 2015.
Clothing and clothing accessories stores sales remain unchanged in September from a month ago and are up by 0.7% year-over-year.
Economists and investors use the advance retail and food services sales data as a leading indicator of the U.S. economy. With consumption being a major portion in U.S. gross domestic product (GDP) calculation, these figures help them come up with better estimates, and tell them about the health of the U.S. economy.
The U.S. Census Bureau will release advance monthly sales for retail and food services for the month of October on Tuesday, November 15 at 8:30 a.m. EST.