Retail sales rose by a less-than-expected amount in August, all but crushing hopes that the improving job market and declining oil prices would jump-start consumer spending in a big way.
However, specialty stores had a good month, helped by back-to-school shoppers and the continued strength of fast fashion players.
Total retail sales rose by 2.2% compared to last August, to $447.7 billion, according to data recently released by the U.S. Department of Commerce. On a 12-month smoothed basis, sales were up by 3.5%, helped by a still-robust automobile sector, where sales increased by 7 percent. Excluding autos, retail sales grew by 2.7%. Non-store sales, driven by pure-play e-commerce, enjoyed the biggest increase, up by 7.5% on a 12-month smoothed basis, followed by restaurant sales, which rose by 6 percent.
Sales at department, chain and discount stores dropped by 1.3% on a smoothed basis, even with July’s revised drop and steeper than June’s decline of 0.8%. Department stores continue to lose share to other channels, particularly in apparel, where specialty stores (including fast fashion players) and e-commerce retailers are experiencing above-average growth.
Apparel specialty stores sales rose by 4.3% on a smoothed basis, their third month of accelerating sales growth despite reports from many retailers that back-to-school was slower than expected. Declining prices and the highly promotional environment are being blamed by many for the slow sales growth.
In June, the most recent month for which inventory information is available, inventory to sales ratios were flat across all key retail sectors.
How Amazon may strip Whole Foods of its touchy-feely ethos—and why that's a good thing—had how cold brew proves you can teach old dogs new tricks.Read more
Loftex Home and GHCL sign CertainT licences, Hollander Sleep Products Buys Pacific Coast Feather and Oeko-Tex certifies Tuft & Needle.Read more
The National Retail Federation continues to lobby Congress with regards to the border adjustment tax, reiterating its claim that it would shift corporate tax savings to consumers.Read more
NRF announced new board members this week, while Topshop hired a new CEO and Macy's stepped up its off-price game with a new executive.Read more
Fashion can’t escape what’s happening in the world whether it wants to or not, and for the Autumn/Winter 2018-19 season, textiles will look to balance all that’s been upended.Read more
The Chittagong Port Authority has taken steps to alleviate the congestion situation at Bangladesh’s top port, but no comprehensive plan is in the works to fix what has been a long-term logistical problem.Read more
Looking to boost cotton quality and exports, Egypt’s Ministry of Trade and Industry has signed a cooperation protocol with United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) and the Italian Development Cooperation.Read more