Retail sales kept up a long streak of year-over-year gains in October even though the growth rate continued to slow, says Jack Kleinhenz, National Retail Federation (NRF) chief economist, in response to the U.S. Census Bureau’s release of monthly data today.
“Fourth-quarter consumer spending stepped off on a more moderate pace, as expected,” Kleinhenz says. “The staying power of the American consumer has been the story of 2023, but financial conditions have tightened appreciably in recent months, curbing the purchasing power fueled by job and wage gains. Nonetheless, continued consumer resilience is still expected for the holiday season.”
Estimates of U.S. retail and food services sales for October 2023, adjusted for seasonal variation and holiday and trading-day differences, but not for price changes, were $705 billion, down 0.1% from the previous month, and up 2.5% above October 2022.
Total sales for August through October 2023 were up 3.1% from 2022. The August 2023 to September 2023 percent change was revised from up 0.7% to up 0.9%.
Retail trade sales were down 0.2% from September, and up 1.6% above last year.
Sales were expected to relax in October and today’s Census Bureau’s numbers are in line with the new CNBC/NRF Retail Monitor. The Retail Monitor reported core October sales were down 0.03%, seasonally adjusted from September but up 2.63% from 2022.
Although sales did not grow exponentially in October, November and December are expected to be record-breaking—again—according to NRF expectations. The NRF forecasts sales to increase 3% to 4% over 2022 to between $957.3 billion and $966.6 billion.