US retail sales fell the most in almost a year in November, reflecting weakness in a number of categories, suggesting some contraction in US demand for goods.
The value of total retail purchases fell 0.6 percent last month after rising 1.3 percent in October, Commerce Department data showed on Thursday.
Excluding gasoline and autos, retail sales fell 0.2 percent. The figures are not adjusted for inflation.
The median estimate from a Bloomberg survey of economists is for total retail sales to fall by 0.2 percent.
Nine out of 13 retail categories fell last month, including auto, electronics, furniture and building materials stores, according to the report.
The value of sales at gas stations fell 0.1 percent as pump prices fell.
Sales at restaurants and bars — the only service sector category in the report — rose 0.9 percent in November, the fourth straight rise.
The report points to some loss of momentum in consumer demand for goods amid high inflation, as well as a shift in preferences towards services. While rising wages and pandemic-era savings have helped support shoppers, Americans are starting to feel the squeeze. The savings rate is near record lows and credit card balances have skyrocketed.
Other data showed the labor market remained resilient with the lowest weekly jobless claims in more than two months. Meanwhile, two Federal Reserve regional manufacturing indicators showed weaker activity this month.
The Fed is looking for a consumer spending slowdown that will lower economic growth to curb inflation.
As expected, policymakers scaled back the pace of rate hikes on Wednesday and while inflation has slowed in recent months, they acknowledge that price pressures are still far too high.
November marks some of the biggest shopping days of the year and retailers offered big discounts on a range of products including toys, clothing and electronics on Black Friday and beyond.
Separate data from Adobe Analytics revealed online spend during Cyber Week – Thanksgiving to Cyber Monday – was up 4 percent from last year.
Thursday’s report showed spending at non- store retailer was Down 0.9 percent, including e-commerce companies like Amazon.com.
One of the only categories to rise was grocery stores amid higher food prices, although the pace was slower than the previous month.
So-called control group sales – which are used to calculate the gross domestic product and exclude gastronomy, car dealerships, hardware stores and petrol stations – fell 0.2 percent, missing estimates for a 0.1 percent gain.
It can be difficult to draw any firm conclusions from the Retail Sales report as the data is not adjusted for inflation and mostly recorded expenditure on goods. A more complete data picture is coming next week.
https://www.independent.ie/business/world/us-retail-sales-fell-by-the-most-in-almost-a-year-in-november-as-inflation-bites-42223052.html US retail sales in November fell the most in almost a year as inflation bites