August Retail Sales l Restaurant Performance l Consumer Spend

September 19, 2011

census-retail-sales-aug-2011.JPGAdvance estimates of US retail and food services sales for August, adjusted for seasonal variation and holiday and trading-day differences, but not for price changes, were $389.5 billion, virtually unchanged (+ 0.1%) from the previous month and 7.2% above August 2010, according to [pdf] the US Census Bureau. Gasoline stations sales were up 20.8% from August 2010 and non-store retailer sales were up 10.4% from last year.

  • Visits to US restaurants slipped by 0.4% in Q2 2011 (April, May, June) compared to same time a year ago, bringing the industry recovery that began in Q3 2010 to a halt, according to the NPD Group. However, consumers spent 1.5% more at restaurants in spring 2011 than they did in spring 2010.
  • Despite economic ups-and-downs, the majority of Americans will continue to spend, according to the latest American Express Spending & Saving Tracker. The survey, conducted in the midst of news surrounding high unemployment rates, and unexpectedly robust retail sales, found that 21% of Americans plan to spend more, with 43% expecting to spend the same, in the next six months compared to the first half of 2011. This represents an increase of 6% and 4% respectively from 2010.
  • US chain-store sales rose by 4.6% on a year-over-year basis, according to [pdf] the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC), which matched July’s performance. Hurricane Irene’s impact was mixed, as some retailers got a lift from consumers stocking up before the storm, while others were negatively impacted after it hit. Overall, the sales pace was likely slowed by 0.5 to 1.0 percentage points from Irene.
  • According to the National Retail Federation, retail industry sales (which exclude automobiles, gas stations, and restaurants) in August 2011 increased 0.1% seasonally adjusted compared to July 2011 and 6% percent unadjusted year-over-year. The NRF says this indicates a slight resistance from consumers who may be exhibiting signs of spending fatigue.
  • The Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index, which had improved slightly in July, plummeted in August. The Index now stands at 44.5 (1985=100), down from 59.2 in July. The Present Situation Index decreased to 33.3 from 35.7. The Expectations Index decreased to 51.9 from 74.9 last month.
  • Bolstered by a rise in home prices and a slight improvement in real wages, the Deloitte Consumer Spending Index rose in July for the first time since January. The Index, which comprises four components — tax burden, initial unemployment claims, real wages, and real home prices — rose to 2.53 from a reading of 2.49 in June.
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