NRF: September retail sales impacted by Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria

The National Retail Federation on Friday released its report on the retail numbers for the month of September. According to the trade association, September retail sales increased 0.5% over August on a seasonally adjusted basis and were up 3.2% year-over-year unadjusted.


Gap, one of the companies expected to report third quarter results impacted by the hurricanes in September
 
Health and personal care stores, sporting goods stores, furniture and home furnishings stores, and electronics and appliance stores were down from August, while online and other non-store sales, clothing and accessories stores, general merchandise stores and building materials and supplies stores increased from August.
 
Building materials and supplies stores showed the strongest increase due to the unfortunate devastations caused by Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria. The segment was up 2.1% over August and up 7.7% unadjusted year-over-year.
 
“Retail appears to have navigated through some rough weather – literally,” said NRF Chief Economist Jack Kleinhenz. “Hurricane impacts were very clear, with a strong boost for building materials going a long way to offset downturns elsewhere. Results were mixed among several business lines but the bottom line was a good increase over August and strong growth from a year ago. While the hurricanes played a major role in the data, they did not fundamentally affect the upward path of the economy.”
 
Several outlets have reported that retailers will post third quarter numbers impacted by the massive hurricanes from recent months. Fortune said that Wal-Mart’s third quarter performance will have a “modestly negative” impact, while Gap and J. Jill will report worse hits. While fashion retailers and food chains are to be negatively impacted, Home Depot is expected to post positive results due to the hurricanes.
 
Despite the negative impacts, several retail categories were up from the previous year, including online and non-store sales, clothing and accessories stores, general merchandise stores, and furniture and home furnishings stores. Electronics and appliances stores, health and personal care stores, and sporting goods stores were down unadjusted year-over-year. 

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