Reclaiming Common Sense

Record the $499.3 Billion Retail September, non-seasonally adjusted.

Record Seasonally Adjusted September Retail of $525.6 Billion


There has been endless discussions regarding  a supposed "Retail Ice Age." We had our first $6 Trillion MARTS Retail Sales year last year.  We have had six consecutive $500 billion or more retail sales months recorded so far this year. We are in a Retail Renaissance. The non-seasonally adjusted data was expected to  grow by 4% from last year's September Sales Level. September Non-seasonally adjusted retail sales was expected to  decline month to month while increasing September to September. It was expected that we would see a $500B non-seasonally adjusted retail month.  The seasonally adjusted data is pointing to an even better month - possibly over $525 billion


 A Record September Total Sales level of $499.4 billion was recorded this month. All sectors were expected to record  month to month declines non-seasonally adjusted. The largest drops by percentage in Motor Vehicles and Parts (MVP,) Furniture and Furnishings (FHF,) Electronics and Appliances (EAS,) Health and Personal Care (HPC,) and Clothing and Clothing Accessories (CAC.) The largest September to September growth rates should be recorded in Non-Store Retail (NSR,) Food and Drinking Places (FDP,) Gas Station Sales (GASS,) Food and Beverage Stores (FBS,) and Clothing (CAC.) We could see decreases from last September's levels for Building Material and Garden Equipment (BMGE, Sporting Goods, Hobbies, Books, and Music (SGHBM,) and Electronics and Appliance (EAS) sales. All sectors did drop month to month. The Largest drops were in MVP, FBS, GASS, CAC, and SGHBM. No mention of the gasoline stimulus this year. We "saved" 1.2 billion in gasoline spending compared to September 2018.


The Non-Seasonally Adjusted Non-Store Retail numbers jumped 15.99% compared to last September.  Not all sectors grew from their September 2018 levels. Gas Station sales fell. EAS, CAC, SGHBM, and General Merchandise sales all fell compared to their September 2018 levels. Everything except gasoline can be bought on-line. On-line sales are non-store sales.


We had our ninth consecutive month of $500 billion in retail sales. The Seasonally Adjusted data was expected to increase month to month and September to September. The largest growth rates were expected month to month in   NSR, FBS, FHF, and CAC. MVP, FBS, FHF, and CAC. The largest September to September growth was expected in MVP, NSR, GASS, FDP and FBS.  We saw $525 billion in total retail sales. Month to month sales contracted in MVP, BME, FBS, GASS, and SGHBM, as well as General Merchandise. Only EAS sales dropped seasonally adjusted from its September 2018 Level.


The seasonally adjusted data bodes well for the third quarter GDP. The rolling year growth hit 3.39% this month, as did the Current Year sales growth. The Same Month growth was 4.14%. This followed July same month growth of 3.53% and August same month growth of 4.30%. This means that the quarter grew at a seasonally adjusted 3.99%. This should "guarantee" a strong same quarter Gross Domestic Product number. The quarter to quarter data is not quite that strong, and yet it was strong than five of the past six quarters.

  • 2018Q1: 0.89%
  • 2018Q2: 1.29%
  • 2018Q3: 0.85%
  • 2018Q4: 0.32%
  • 2019Q1: 0.30%
  • 2019Q2: 1.87%
  • 2019Q3: 1.46%

This should mean that we will see something stronger than 2018Q3. New Home Construction and New Home sales are on track for their best years since 2007. That will impact Gross Private Domestic Investments. Congress has been spending more money this year than last year. That should boost the Government Consumption Expenditure part of Gross Domestic Product.


The data is the data. Some in the media were reporting on the report. Seasonally adjusted retail sales dropped slightly from the seasonally adjusted August level. They could have reported that we had out best September ever. They could have reported that we have had nine consecutive months with more than $500 billion in retail sales. They could have reported strong growth from September 2018 to September 2019 than 2017 to 2018. These chose to downplay the good news.


We are in a Retail Renaissance. Sales are shifting to non-store retail (NSR) more and more every year. We are also seeing a fundamental shift to ordering on-line and picking up the orders at the stores. We almost had a record September of over $500 billion non-seasonally adjusted. It may still happen after the revisions are reported next month.  We reported the over $525 billion seasonally adjusted retail sales, as projected. There was a pause in growth this Summer. It is "un-paused." We should have our first ever %600 billion sales month this December.


It's the Economy.