Money & The Economy

Retail Sales Beat Expectations Amid Surging Inflation

U.S. retail sales increased in September, beating expectations amid growing inflation and supply chain disruptions, the U.S. Census Bureau reported Friday.

Retail sales increased 0.7% in September, beating experts’ estimates of 0.2%, according to the Census Bureau report.  The number rose 0.8%, excluding auto sales, beating the 0.5% forecast.

Sales were up 13.9% compared to September 2020, and they increased 15.6% compared to September 2020, excluding auto sales, according to the Census Bureau.

Experts see the spike in spending as a sign of consumer strength heading into the fourth quarter, according to The Wall Street Journal.

“This is a strong number. People are spending all this money. The federal government is pouring money into the economy, so it’s a good sign people are spending,” Stephen Moore, a former economic advisor in the Trump administration, told the Daily Caller News Foundation.

As the country learns to live with COVID-19 and cases continue to drop, American’s have ramped up spending as schools and offices reopen, CNBC reported.

“Students heading back to school and workers returning to the office are likely the catalysts for the increased retail sales,” Natalie Kotylar, national leader of BDO’s retail and consumer products, told CNBC.

“People who are back to working in a downtown office may be taking more shopping trips on their lunch break or after work. With school back in session and many teens vaccinated, parents may also be more comfortable allowing their teens to take shopping trips to the mall,” Kotylar added.

Sporting goods, music and book stores saw the largest increase with a 3.7% jump, according to the Census Bureau. The spike in gas prices led to a 1.8% increase in spending at the gas pump, making for a 38.2% surve over the last year.

The spike in retail sales reflects the surge in inflation leading to higher consumer prices, the WSJ reported. The Consumer Price Index increased 0.4% in September, bringing the key inflation indicator’s year-over-year increase to 5.4%, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics announced Wednesday.

Wednesday’s inflation figure shows the largest single-year increase since January 1991, the Daily Caller News Foundation previously reported.

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