After a disappointment last month, Retail Sales saw a nice rebound in September as consumers seem undeterred from spending despite the expiration of extended UI benefits and the lack of an additional stimulus bill. For the month of September, headline Retail Sales rose 1.9% m/m versus expectations for a more modest increase of 0.8%. Ex Autos and Gas, growth was even better relative to expectations, although August’s already slower than expected growth was revised modestly lower.
Breadth in this month’s report was strong. Of the thirteen sectors that comprise the total pie, all but one of them (Electronics and Appliances) showed growth. Normally, when a sector shows m/m growth of a percent or two, it’s impressive. This month, though, the volatility of the pandemic remains in place as two sectors showed growth of over 5%, including Clothing which saw double-digit growth relative to August!
While the monthly pace of retail sales is back at all-time highs, the characteristics behind the total level of sales have changed markedly in the post COVID world. In our just-released B.I.G. Tips report, we looked at these changing dynamics to highlight the groups that have been the biggest winners and losers from the shifts. For anyone with more than a passing interest in how the COVID outbreak is impacting the economy, our monthly update on retail sales is a must-read. To see the report, sign up for a monthly Bespoke Premium membership now!