Sporting goods, hobby, book and music stores’ sales decreased 0.5 percent to $8.57 billion in August compared to July on a seasonally-adjusted basis, but were up 3.4 percent from August, 2012 on an unadjusted basis, according to latest advance estimates released by the U.S. Census Bureau.
The report estimates that sales for the segment reached $56.5 billion in the first eight months of 2013, up 3.7 percent from the comparable period in 2012.
Retail sales excluding automobiles, gas stations and restaurants, increased 0.1 percent seasonally adjusted from last month, and 3.9 percent unadjusted year-over-year.
“Slow growth continues to be the economic story five years after the financial crisis,” said National Retail Federation (NRF) President and CEO Matthew Shay. “The economy, employment, wages, and retail sales continue to stagger along. Retailers and consumers are resilient but not overly optimistic about the broader economy. While positive retail sales growth continues month-after-month, it is just not strong enough to move the needle.”
Total retail and food services sales, which include non-general merchandise categories such as automobiles, gasoline stations, and restaurants, increased 0.2 percent seasonally adjusted month-to-month and increased 4.7 percent adjusted year-over-year.
“Retail sales gains continue to be tepid,” said NRF Chief Economist Jack Kleinhenz. “Retail sales and employment, while measurably positive, have been disappointing over the last few months, and have been difficult to reconcile with consumer confidence. The data suggests that consumers remain cautious with their pocketbooks and purchases. This month’s weak retail sales report will continue to put pressure on policymakers, who are dealing with tapering, and retailers, who will need to focus on price and value to entice consumer spending.”