Retail Sales Fall 0.1% in October, Less Than Expected

The Census Bureau's Advance Retail Sales Report for October revealed a 0.1% decrease in headline sales compared to September, marking the first month consumers have pulled back their spending since March. The latest figure was less than the anticipated 0.3% monthly decline. Core sales (ex Autos) beat expectations by increasing 0.1% in October compared to the expected 0.2% decline.

For an inflation-adjusted perspective on retail sales, take a look at our Real Retail Sales commentary.

Retail Sales Month Over Month

Here is the introduction from today's report:

Advance estimates of U.S. retail and food services sales for October 2023, adjusted for seasonal variation and holiday and trading-day differences, but not for price changes, were $705.0 billion, down 0.1 percent (±0.5 percent)* from the previous month, and up 2.5 percent (±0.7 percent) above October 2022. Total sales for the August 2023 through October 2023 period were up 3.1 percent (±0.4 percent) from the same period a year ago. The August 2023 to September 2023 percent change was revised from up 0.7 percent (±0.5 percent) to up 0.9 percent (±0.2 percent).

Retail trade sales were down 0.2 percent (±0.5 percent)* from September 2023, and up 1.6 percent (±0.5 percent) above last year. Gasoline Stations were down 7.5 percent (±1.1 percent) from last year, while nonstore retailers were up 7.6 percent (±1.6 percent) from October 2022.