Advance Retail Sales for August surprised to the upside according to the Census Bureau's Advance Sales Report.
- Advance estimates of U.S. retail and food services sales for August 2021 were $618.7 billion, an increase of 0.7 percent from July, and 15.1 percent above August 2020.
- Total sales for the June 2021 through August 2021 period were up 16.3 percent from the same period a year ago.
- The June 2021 to July 2021 percent change was revised from down 1.1 percent to down 1.8 percent.
- Motor vehicles sales declined 3.6% month from July and have been trending lower for four months on parts shortages.
- Online sales were the big winner in August, up 5.3% from July.
- Consumers shrugged off Covid concerns as food service sales were unchanged.
Q&A On Methodology
Retail Sales vs Econoday Expectations
- Total: -0.8% Expected vs 0.7% Reported
- Ex-Vehicles: -0.1% Expected vs 1.8% Reported
- Ex-Vehicles and Gas: -0.3% Expected vs 2.0% Reported
Sales were a blowout vs expectations even with the negative revisions.
Advance Retail Sales Select Categories
Mote the impact of a chip shortage on autos sales.
Impact of Stimulus
The three rounds of economic stimulus, one under Trump and two under Biden stands out.
Despite the unexpected strength in August, sales are lower than they were following the last round of stimulus.
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