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Hurricane Sandy and Fiscal Cliff Impact October Retail Sales

  Hurricane Sandy and Fiscal Cliff Impact October Retail Sales

Business Wire

WASHINGTON -- November 14, 2012

For the first time in three months, retail sales ticked down slightly as
consumers cooled discretionary spending in the face of inclement weather and
uncertainty in Washington. According to the National Retail Federation,
October retail sales (excluding automobiles, gas stations and restaurants)
decreased 0.3 percent seasonally adjusted from September yet increased 3.9
percent unadjusted year-over-year.

“While Hurricane Sandy certainly impacted consumer spending in the northeast
and mid-Atlantic states, the larger threat to the overall economy is the
impending fiscal cliff, which impacts Americans across the country," NRF
President and CEO Matthew Shay said. “The automatic tax increases and spending
cuts set to take effect at the end of the year may have more of an impact on
business confidence and consumer spending than any other issue. It’s
imperative that policymakers address the looming fiscal cliff now to give
consumers some certainty heading into the holiday shopping season.”

October retail sales, released today by the U.S. Department of Commerce,
showed total retail and food services sales (which include non-general
merchandise categories such as automobiles, gasoline stations, and
restaurants) decreased 0.3 percent seasonally adjusted month-to-month yet
increased 3.8 percent unadjusted year-over-year.

“The underlying strength of the American consumer is encouraging but it’s far
from definitive,” NRF Chief Economist Jack Kleinhenz said. “Hurricane Sandy
will have short-term and long-term reverberations on the economy and will
continue to impact consumer spending and retail sales over the coming months
in the hardest-hit areas. Even though retail sales declined in October, NRF
remains confident in moderate consumer spending nationwide, and expects a
solid holiday shopping season.”

Other findings from the October retail sales report include:

  *Clothing and clothing accessories stores' sales decreased 0.1 percent
    seasonally-adjusted month-to-month yet increased 4.2 percent unadjusted
    year-over-year.
  *Electronics and appliance stores’ sales decreased 1.0 percent
    seasonally-adjusted month-to-month and 4.2 percent unadjusted
    year-over-year.
  *Furniture and home furnishing stores’ sales decreased 0.6 percent
    seasonally-adjusted month-to-month yet increased 7.3 percent unadjusted
    year-over-year.
  *General merchandise stores’ sales increased 0.2 percent
    seasonally-adjusted month-to-month yet decreased 1.1 percent unadjusted
    year-over-year.
  *Health and personal care stores’ sales increased 0.3 percent
    seasonally-adjusted month-to-month yet increased 2.1 percent unadjusted
    year-over-year.
  *Nonstore retailers’ sales decreased 1.8 percent seasonally-adjusted
    month-to-month yet increased 12.6 percent unadjusted year-over-year.
  *Sporting goods, hobby, book and music stores’ sales increased 0.5 percent
    seasonally-adjusted month-to-month and 5.4 percent unadjusted
    year-over-year.

As the world’s largest retail trade association and the voice of retail
worldwide, NRF represents retailers of all types and sizes, including chain
restaurants and industry partners, from the United States and more than 45
countries abroad. Retailers operate more than 3.6 million U.S. establishments
that support one in four U.S. jobs – 42 million working Americans.
Contributing $2.5 trillion to annual GDP, retail is a daily barometer for the
nation’s economy. NRF’s Retail Means Jobs campaign emphasizes the economic
importance of retail and encourages policymakers to support a Jobs, Innovation
and Consumer Value Agenda aimed at boosting economic growth and job creation.
www.nrf.com

Contact:

National Retail Federation
Stephen E. Schatz, 202-626-8119
SchatzS@NRF.com
 
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