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US Retail Sales in August Grew 0.3% Compared to July, Up 9.1% Over Last Year

U.S. retail sales grew slightly in August from July, but were still well above last year’s levels.

Retail sales were $683.3 billion in August, according to a monthly report from the U.S. Census Bureau. This marked an increase of 0.3% from the numbers July, which were amended to reflect $681.3 billion. However, sales were up 9.1% compared with August 2021.

“August retail sales show consumers’ resiliency to spend on household priorities despite persistent inflation and rising interest rates,” NRF president and CEO Matthew Shay said in a statement. “As we gear up for the holiday season, consumers are seeking value to make their dollars stretch. Retailers have been hard at work managing their supply chains and holiday inventories to provide consumers with great products, competitive prices and convenience at every opportunity.”

Between June 2022 through August 2022, total sales were up 9.3% compared to the same period in 2021. The spending numbers are not adjusted for inflation, which explains certain large spending surges in categories like gasoline, where sales were up 29.3% from August 2021.

Within retail, sales were up 0.2% from July, and up 8.9% from August 2021. Non-store retailer sales were up 11.2% from last year.

“August was a relatively good month for retail sales as consumers continued to spend at a reasonable pace,” managing director of GlobalData Neil Saunders said in a statement, attributing the growth to lower gas prices, more discounts and a willingness for consumers to take on credit card debt to fund purchases.

The report comes as inflation shows signs of cooling. Consumer prices increased 8.3% in August from a year ago, down from its 40-year high of 9.1% in June and the recent 8.5% growth in July.

With the holidays around the corner, experts say that sales are likely to increase this year, although at a slower pace than in 2021, according to Deloitte’s annual holiday retail forecast. Overall, Deloitte’s retail and consumer products team projects holiday sales will total $1.45 trillion to $1.47 trillion during the November to January timeframe, growing between 4% and 6% over last year

“This may not be a stellar holiday season, but neither is it likely to be a complete bust,” Saunders said.

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