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Retail sales of clothing drop
13
Sep '08
Retailers' summer started off with a bang but ended with a whimper. According to the National Retail Federation, retail industry sales for August (which exclude automobiles, gas stations, and restaurants) decreased 0.3 percent seasonally adjusted month-to-month and increased 1.1 percent unadjusted over last year.

August retail sales released by the U.S. Commerce Department show total retail sales (which include non-general merchandise categories) decreased 0.3 percent seasonally adjusted from the previous month and decreased 0.4 percent unadjusted year-over-year.

“The back-to-school season provided a slight boost to some companies,” said Rosalind Wells, NRF Chief Economist. “Unfortunately, retailers were not able to sustain the momentum they saw in the first half of the summer when families' spending was being buoyed by the rebate checks.”

Consumers looking for bargains on back-to-school merchandise headed to discount and off-price retail stores. Sales at general merchandise stores decreased 0.2 percent seasonally adjusted from July, but increased 4.6 percent unadjusted over last August.

While sales at clothing and clothing accessory stores sales decreased 0.3 percent seasonally adjusted month-to-month, they increased 0.6 percent unadjusted from last year as shoppers took advantage of new fall merchandise.

As predicted in NRF's Back-to-College Consumer Intentions and Actions survey, college-aged students and their families held back on purchases of dorm or apartment type merchandise. Sales at furniture and home furnishing stores were flat from July and decreased 8.3 percent unadjusted year-over-year.

National Retail Federation

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