US Retail Sales Accelerate in September

After two straight months of disappointments, the headline print smashed expectations of a 0.8pct rise. This marks the fastest pace in three months and the fifth straight month of improvement. The previous reading was revised higher to 0.7pct from 0.5pct.


Twelve of the thirteen major categories posted an increase. The biggest monthly rises were seen in clothing stores, while online retail sales stalled; the electronics and appliance stores segment showed the lone decline in September.



The control group – used for GDP calculation purposes and seen by analysts as a more reliable gauge of underlying consumer demand – came in way above the estimate of 0.2pct, with August’s figure revised higher to -0.1pct from -0.3pct. Retail sales ex-autos rose 1.5pct, exceeding the 0.4pct forecasts and ex-auto and gas also beat expectations, printing 1.5pct versus the 0.5pct projection.

Economists' Comment

Oxford Economics’ chief US economist, Gregory Daco said, “As the prospects of an immediate fiscal relief package dim, the risk is growing that declining income and reduced savings buffers will constrain household spending in coming months, especially among the most vulnerable tranches of the population. The upcoming elections carry upside and downside risks for the economy, but a lapse in income support until 2021 would leave the US consumer quite exposed during the fall and early winter.”