Retail Sales Rose in September Despite Inflation & Supply Chain Slowdowns

September marked another month of retail sales growth in the U.S.

Overall sales were $625.4 billion in September, marking a 0.7% jump from August, according to a monthly report from the U.S. Census Bureau. Sales were up 13.9% compared to September 2020, with retail trade sales up 0.8% from August and 12.2% year over year.

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The bump follows a similarly positive report in August, where sales jumped 0.7% jump from July. In July, sales dropped 1.1% from June.

Between July 2021 and September 2021, total sales were up 14.9% compared to a year ago, signaling a pattern of recovery and increased spending in the U.S.

The positive growth comes despite COVID-19 related concerns and supply chain disruptions that have spurred higher retail prices in recent months. Port congestion and shipping delays have caused freight and container rates to soar to record highs. As a result, prices on certain items have increased.

Consumer prices also rose in September by 5.4% compared to a year ago, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ monthly report. Footwear prices increased 6.5% in September, compared with the year-ago period, with the women’s category up 4.9%. Prices for kids shoes rose 11.9%, and men’s increased 5.5%.

The FDRA pointed out that U.S. consumers are currently seeing shoe prices increase at the fastest rate in over 20 years, with year to date footwear prices up 3.2%.

“Today’s retail sales data confirms the sheer power of the consumer to spend, and we expect this to continue,” said NRF president and CEO Matthew Shay in a statement. “Despite persistent challenges related to the global pandemic, supply chain and labor shortages, retailers and their partners have shown resilience and ingenuity in getting the workforce, goods and systems in place to serve their customers and the communities where they operate.”

The positive growth also comes in advance of what experts predict will be a holiday season marked by high demand and low supply. According to KPMG’s consumer pulse survey for the holiday season of 2021, spending for the holiday season is set to return to normal levels, with respondents planning to increase their holiday spending budgets by 5% compared to last year.

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