Friday January 27, 2023

US retail sales flat in September

October 15, 2022

Washington: US retail sales were flat in September, official data showed Friday, as auto sales slowed and higher prices weighed on consumption.

Americans flush with savings have been key to the US pandemic recovery, but the Federal Reserve has been keeping a close watch on data as it fights to bring down surging inflation in the world´s biggest economy without nudging it into recession.

Inflation keeps its hold on the US economy as consumer prices jumped higher than expected last month, in a blow to President Joe Biden before the midterm elections in a few weeks.

Amid the elevated consumer costs, retail sales in September were "virtually unchanged" from August at $684 billion, Commerce Department data showed on Friday.

The weaker-than-expected numbers came as auto sales dipped 0.6 percent from August, while gasoline stations saw sales drop 1.4 percent as fuel prices fell.

Gas prices at the pump surged after Russia´s invasion of Ukraine in February, but costs have since dropped from a record high.

Meanwhile, sales at restaurants and bars, along with those at online retailers, picked up 0.5 percent from August, the latest data showed.

The data are seasonally adjusted but do not take into account changes in prices, so as costs rise, a shopping dollar does not stretch as far and American families have had to use more of their earnings on staple goods.