US Retail Sales Slowdown Raises Growth Concerns

Spending at U.S. retailers declined in September, raising concerns about the strength of American consumers amid signs of a global slowdown.

Retail and food sales fell 0.3% from August to a seasonally adjusted $442.7 billion, the Commerce Department said Wednesday. It was the first decline in sales since January, when an unusually cold winter slowed the economy.

Sales fell in most categories of consumer spending last month. Economists expected sales at gasoline stations and auto dealerships to ease in September, but spending also declined at clothing stores, home-improvement suppliers and nonstore retailers, a category that includes online sales.

Excluding automotive purchases, sales fell 0.2% from the prior month. When excluding both auto and gasoline purchases, retail sales fell 0.1%. Economists surveyed by The Wall Street Journal had forecast overall retail sales would fall 0.1% last month. They had predicted a 0.3% gain excluding autos.

Among the few bright spots in Wednesday’s report was a 3.4% gain at electronics and appliance stores. The bump—the best in more than a year—likely reflects sales of Apple’s iPhone 6.

“Consumer spending activity ended the quarter on a very weak footing,” said TD Securities economist Millan Mulraine “And with consumer confidence appearing to be deteriorating in recent weeks, this weakening momentum appears to be have been carried into this quarter.”

via WSJ

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Alfonso Esparza

Alfonso Esparza

Senior Currency Analyst at Market Pulse
Alfonso Esparza specializes in macro forex strategies for North American and major currency pairs. Upon joining OANDA in 2007, Alfonso Esparza established the MarketPulseFX blog and he has since written extensively about central banks and global economic and political trends. Alfonso has also worked as a professional currency trader focused on North America and emerging markets. He has been published by The MarketWatch, Reuters, the Wall Street Journal and The Globe and Mail, and he also appears regularly as a guest commentator on networks including Bloomberg and BNN. He holds a finance degree from the Monterrey Institute of Technology and Higher Education (ITESM) and an MBA with a specialization on financial engineering and marketing from the University of Toronto.
Alfonso Esparza