Advance estimates of U.S. retail and food services sales for September 2021, adjusted for seasonal variation and holiday and trading-day differences, but not for price changes, were $625.4 billion, an increase of 0.7 percent (±0.5 percent) from the previous month, and 13.9 percent (±0.7 percent) above September 2020. Total sales for the July 2021 through September 2021 period were up 14.9 percent (±0.7 percent) from the same period a year ago. The July 2021 to August 2021 percent change was revised from up 0.7 percent (±0.5 percent) to up 0.9 percent (±0.2 percent).
Retail trade sales were up 0.8 percent (±0.4 percent) from August 2021, and up 12.2 percent (±0.7 percent) above last year. Gasoline stations were up 38.2 percent (±1.6 percent) from September 2020, while food services and drinking places were up 29.5 percent (±3.7 percent) from last year.
Expectations were for a much smaller increase, as CNBC reports.
Consumers spent at a much faster pace than expected in September, defying expectations for a pullback amid pervasive supply chain problems, the Census Bureau reported Friday.
Retail sales for the month increased by 0.7%, against the Dow Jones estimate for a decline of 0.2%. Excluding auto-related sales, the number rose 0.8%, better than the 0.5% forecast.
Compared with a year ago, sales were up 13.9% on the headline number and 15.6% excluding autos.
Price increases played a role, as the Wall Street Journal reports.
The rise in sales also partly reflects higher consumer prices, which advanced 0.4% in September from August and 5.4% from a year earlier. The retail sales, which aren’t adjusted for inflation, rose 13.9% in September from a year earlier.
Labor shortages, inflation, and supply-chain problems remain threats to the recovery, but so far consumers, still flush with cash, are willing to spend if they can find what they’re looking for.