October Retail Sales Rose 1.7%, Marking A Good Start to Holiday Shopping

Washington, DC, November 16, 2021-U.S. retail and food services sales for October 2021 were $638.2 billion, an increase of 1.7% from the previous month and 16.3% above October 2020, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

Total sales for the August 2021 through October 2021 period were up 15.4% from the same period a year ago. The August 2021 to September 2021 percent change was revised from up 0.7% to up 0.8%.

Retail trade sales were up 1.9% from September 2021 and up 14.8% above last year. Gasoline stations were up 46.8% from October 2020, while food services and drinking places were up 29.3% from last year.

According to the Wall Street Journal, “The elevated spending levels suggest solid holiday sales this month and next. Consumers have said they are worried about inflation, which hit a three-decade high last month, but planned to continue spending.

“‘Consumers say they’re pessimistic-we have had very high inflation-but the truth is they’re in very good shape right now,’ said Gus Faucher, chief economist at PNC Financial Services Group. He cited the roughly $2 trillion in excess savings that households have accrued since the start of the pandemic, as well as low interest rates and an improving labor market as reasons for the robust demand for goods.

“The combination of strong demand, snarled supply chains, higher prices and an unbalanced labor market is making for an unusual holiday season where record sales may be accompanied by shortages and long waits for goods. Inflation may also start to cut into demand for consumers with lower incomes who may put off purchases due to price increases, economists say.”

Related Topics:U.S. Census Bureau