16 October 2012
Sales at US apparel stores were slightly up in September from the previous month, reflecting higher consumer confidence and improvement in the job market. Our monthly report covers latest comparable sales data released by largest apparel chains and department stores. It also includes official monthly data for clothing stores and other sectors, consumer confidence index, and unemployment rate. Historical data are available for download.
According to the US Census Bureau, retail sales at US clothing stores rose 0.6% in value terms in September from the previous month, after taking account of seasonal variations.
Apparel sales were positive overall, as they captured the last portion of back-to-school season shopping, but percentage increase was moderate compared with a strong August.
Annual growth was 4.9%, lower than August’s level of 6.1%, which was revised up. Growing consumer confidence and stronger labor market.
US total retail sales jumped 1.1% last month, following August's revised increase of 1.2%, producing the best two months of sales in two years.
The increases in both months were the largest rises seen since October 2010.
Sales were last month up in most of the categories. Although, department stores saw a 0.2% drop following no change in August.
The stronger retail numbers provide some evidence that rising consumer confidence is translating into actual spending.
The Consumer index improved to 70.3 up from 61.3 the month before.
The increase also comes after a report from the US Labor Department that the unemployment rate fell to 7.8%, its lowest level since January 2009.
The economy has added an average of 146,000 jobs a month in the July-September quarter, more than twice the monthly pace in the April-June quarter.
Gap and Limited Brands announced same-store sales up 6% and 5%, respectively, from the same month a year earlier.
Kohl's posted comparable store sales of negative 2.7% was weaker than expected.
Off-price retailer The TJX Companies comparable store sales increased 6%.
Consumer spending could slow down with the political and economic uncertainty ahead.
September also saw an increase in food and gas prices. If these prices continue to rise, consumers may cut back elsewhere.