US retail sales fell for the first time in seven months in September, raising fears that a slowdown in the American manufacturing sector could be starting to bleed into the consumer side of the economy.
The Commerce Department said yesterday retail sales dropped 0,3 percent last month as households slashed spending on building materials, online purchases and especially automobiles. The decline was the first since February.
Data for August was revised up to show retail sales gaining 0.6percent instead of 0,4 percent as previously reported. Economists polled by Reuters had forecast retail sales would climb 0,3 percent in September. Compared to September last year, retail sales increased by 4,1 percent.
“While this is by no means conclusive evidence that the consumer is wavering (after all, the upward revisions reduce the impact of September’s declines), it nonetheless reinforces our ongoing concern that a spending retrenchment will ultimately trigger a more durable slowdown,” wrote Ian Lyngen, head of rates research at BMO Capital Markets.
Auto sales fell 0,9percent in September, the most in eight months, after accelerating 1,9 percent in August. Receipts at service stations fell 0,7 percent, likely reflecting cheaper gasoline.
Excluding automobiles, gasoline, building materials and food services, retail sales were little changed in September after climbing 0,3 percent in August. The so-called core figure corresponds more closely to the consumer spending component of US economic activity. — CNBC.