US Retail Sales: Strong auto sales drive September growth - Wells Fargo

According to analysts from Wells Fargo, retail sales ended the third quarter with a bang, increasing 1.6 percent in September and this will give a boost to personal consumption expenditures, which started the third quarter on a weak note.

Key Quotes

“Retail and food services sales surged 1.6 percent in September, a bit slower than the 1.7 percent estimated by consensus but still very strong to close the third quarter on a positive note. Excluding automobile sales, which surged
3.6 percent during the month, retail and food services sales also increased a strong 1.0 percent compared to August. Meanwhile, gasoline sales also rose strongly, up 5.8 percent during the month as gasoline prices increased considerably due to the effects of the hurricane in Texas that affected some refineries in the Houston region.”

“Perhaps the best news in this retail sales report was the recovery in control group sales, which is a sector that goes into the calculation of personal consumption expenditures. Control group sales’ was up 0.4 percent in September and was upwardly revised to 0.0 percent in August after a very strong 0.7 percent increase in July. This means that personal consumption expenditures (PCE) growth will remain relatively strong in the third quarter of the year even though it may not repeat the strength we saw in the second quarter of the year.”

“The implications are that either the consumer continued to bring down savings and/or increased credit use in order to support higher PCE growth in the face of a still weak performance by personal income during the third quarter of the year. “

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