US retail sales rise moderately amid shortages, high inflation

FILE PHOTO: People shop for clothing at the Target retail chain in Westbury, New York
FILE PHOTO: People shop for clothing at a Target retail chain in Westbury, New York, U.S., May 20, 2021. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton/File Photo

December 15, 2021

By Lucia Mutikani

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. retail sales rose less than expected in November, likely to payback after surging last month as Americans began holiday shopping early to avoid store shelves. drum.

The shift in spending from goods to services as well as shortages and leading to higher prices appear to have weighed on retail sales last month, with a report from the Commerce Department on Wednesday showing saw sales at electronics and appliance stores plummet. Online retail sales were unchanged.

“This is likely due to consumers shopping on holiday earlier than usual because of the expected delays due to the delay,” said Marwan Forzley, managing director at Veem, an online global payments platform. supply chain problems and inflation”.

Retail sales rose 0.3% last month. Data for October has been revised higher to show retail sales up 1.8% instead of 1.7% previously reported. Sales are now up for four straight months and up 18.2% year over year. Economists polled by Reuters had forecast a 0.8 percent increase in retail sales. Estimates range from a low of no change to a high with an increase of 1.5%.

Some of America’s top retailers reported in mid-November that they had noticed holiday shopping starting earlier.

Trillions of dollars in COVID-19 pandemic relief from governments around the globe have boosted demand for goods, straining supply chains. Scarcity of goods, from motor vehicles to furniture and electronics, has driven up commodity prices.

Consumer prices rose firmly by 0.8% in November, with a 6.8% year-on-year increase, the biggest increase since June 1982.


Moderate retail sales, mainly merchandise, reflect shortages. Sales at auto dealerships fell 0.1% after rising 1.7% in October. Cars remain scarce because of a global shortage of semiconductors. Sales at electronics and appliance stores fell 4.6%.

However, sales at service stations increased by 1.7% due to higher gasoline prices. Revenue at building material stores increased by 0.7%. Revenues at stores that sell sporting goods, hobbies, musical instruments and books also increased.

Sales at clothing stores rose 0.5%. Revenue at restaurants and bars increased 1.0%. Restaurants and bars is the only service category in the retail sales report. These sales were up 37.4% from last November.

The modest retail sales gain may not change the view that the economy is picking up steam after a third-quarter downturn triggered by the Delta variant of the coronavirus and rampant shortages.

The report was released as Federal Reserve officials prepared to wrap up a two-day policy meeting.

The US central bank is expected to announce that it will accelerate the easing of its massive monthly bond purchases, amid soaring inflation. An early rate hike next year has been put in place.

Excluding autos, gasoline, building materials and food services, retail sales fell 0.1% after rising 1.8% in October. These so-called core retail sales respectively. most closely related to the consumer spending component of gross domestic product. More than half way through Q4, consumer spending was higher than Q3’s pace.

“However, with disposable income currently declining in real terms and the rapid spread of the Omicron variant likely to pose some drag on high exposure service activity, the level of exposure to high exposure services is likely to increase,” said Andrews. Real consumption growth will increase much more slowly in the coming months. Hunter, a senior economist at Capital Economics.

Consumer spending, which accounts for more than two-thirds of US economic activity, grew at a 1.7 percent annual rate in the third quarter. More than half way through Q4, consumer spending was higher than Q3’s pace.

High economic growth is estimated at 8.7%. The economy grew at a 2.1% rate in the third quarter.

(Reporting by Lucia Mutikani; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Andrea Ricci) US retail sales rise moderately amid shortages, high inflation

Bobby Allyn

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