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U.S. sales inch up in October, boosted by early holiday shopping, Prime Day


Retail sales grew for the sixth month in a row in October, but the pace of growth slowed ahead of the presidential election, rising COVID-19 cases and the lack of a second stimulus.

Retail sales in October edged up 0.2% from September and rose 10.6% year-over-year, according to the National Retail Federation, which excludes automobile dealers, gasoline stations and restaurants to focus on core retail. That compares to increases of 0.9% month-over-month and 12.9% year-over-year in September.

The October gains were led by online sales, which were up 3.1% month-over-month and 26.3% year-over-year due largely to the shift of Amazon Prime Day and related online promotions to October from July, according to the NRF.

“October retail sales remained on track despite the pandemic continuing to affect households and businesses,” said NRF chief economist Jack Kleinhenz said. “Early holiday shopping appears to have supported October’s increase in sales. The rise in COVID-19 cases continues to be a factor that weighs on consumer perceptions, sentiment and spending and there could be retrenchment if we cannot thwart this latest wave.”

The October gains were led by online sales, which were up 3.1% month-over-month and 26.3% year-over-year due  largely to the shift of Amazon Prime Day and related online promotions to October from July, according to the NRF. Seven out of nine retail categories saw year-over-year increases.

October’s sales results come as NRF’s latest research shows 42% of consumers started their holiday shopping earlier than usual this year.

Specifics from key retail sectors during October are below. 
•    Online and non-store sales were up 3.1% month-over-month and 26.3% year-over-year.
•    Electronics and appliance stores were up 1.2% month-over-month seasonally adjusted but down 3.3% unadjusted year-over-year.
•    Building materials and garden supply stores were up 0.9% month-over-month seasonally adjusted and up 17% unadjusted year-over-year.
•    Health and personal care stores were down 0.1% month-over-month seasonally adjusted but up 3.1%   unadjusted year-over-year.
•    Grocery and beverage stores were down 0.2% month-over-month seasonally adjusted but up 11.6% unadjusted year-over-year.
•    Furniture and home furnishings stores were down 0.4% month-over-month seasonally adjusted but up 5.8% unadjusted year-over-year.
•    General merchandise stores were down 1.1% month-over-month seasonally adjusted but up 4.8% unadjusted year-over-year.
•    Sporting goods stores were down 4.2% month-over-month seasonally adjusted but up 14.1% unadjusted year-over-year.
•    Clothing and clothing accessory stores were down 4.2% month-over-month seasonally adjusted and down 11.3% unadjusted year-over-year.
 





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