US Clothing Sales Flat in September

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Sales at clothing and accessories stores were flat in September, as warmer than usual weather meant people weren’t ready to buy fall apparel.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau’s advance monthly report, released Friday, total retail sales were roughly $404 billion last month. That was a 0.6% increase from August’s $401.8 billion—though down from $403.1 billion in July—and up 2.2% from the same time a year ago.

But not all categories had a good run last month. Clothing and accessory store sales were unchanged from August at $21.4 million—only a 0.7% increase from September 2015. General merchandise sales—which include department stores—were down 0.4% on a monthly basis and 2.5% compared with last year to $55.1 million. Department store sales alone declined 0.7% from August to $12.8 million and that was down 6.4% from a year ago.

Meanwhile, sales at sporting goods stores picked up by 1.4% on a monthly basis to reach $7.7 million, which was flat compared with September 2016.

Non-store retailers, including e-commerce, recovered from a 0.3% drop in sales in August to rise by 0.3% last month, reaching $46.99 million. Compared with September 2015, sales were up 10.6%.

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