Consumers proved resilient to inflation in September by driving retail sales higher at a faster clip than economists expected while August’s sales were higher than first reported.
The Commerce Department reported Friday that sales grew 0.7% from August even as inflation matched a 13-year high, beating economist projections of growth slowing to 0.2%. August’s sales growth from July was revised upward from 0.7% to 0.9%, a showing of stronger sales at a time when new cases of the delta coronavirus variant surged.
The category for sales from sporting goods, hobby, music instruments and bookstores had the highest growth with 3.7%. General merchandise stores followed with 2% and 1.8% for miscellaneous store retailers.
Electronics and appliance stores and health and personal care stores were the only two categories where sales fell for the month.
Outside of gas stations, clothing stores had the biggest gain from September 2020 at 22.4%. Gas station sales, which gained 1.8% in September, were up 38.2% from a year ago as leisure travelers continued to take to the road.