Clothing Store Sales Picked Up in October But Department Stores Continued to Suffer

clothing trademarkSales at clothing and accessories stores bounced back from a bleak September to rise in October, as shoppers began to splash out on fall apparel despite unseasonably warm weather.

Per the U.S. Census Bureau’s advance monthly report, released Tuesday, clothing and accessory store sales reached $21.55 million last month. That was a 0.6% improvement from September’s $21.43 million and up 2.3% from the same time a year ago.

In fact, nearly all categories had an upbeat October, which helped retail trade sales to rise 1 percent from the previous month and 4.3% year-over-year, while non-store retailers (including e-commerce) were up 1.5% from September and a whopping 12.9% from October 2015.

The report indicated that total retail and food service sales were $465.9 billion last month, an increase of 0.8% from the previous month and 4.3% better than the year-ago period’s performance. Economists surveyed by The Wall Street Journal had anticipated overall sales to increase 0.6% and retail trade sales to improve 0.4%.

Though general merchandise sales—which include department stores—recovered from September’s 0.4% decline to rise 0.4% in October, they were down 2.3% on a yearly basis. Department store sales alone dropped 0.7% monthly and were down 7.3% compared with last year. However, sales at sporting goods increased 1.3% from September and gained 1.7% year-over-year.

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