Retail sales in the U.S. crept up by much less than expected in the month of September, according to a report released by the Commerce Department on Monday.
The Commerce Department said retail sales inched up by 0.1 percent in September, matching the uptick seen in August. Economists had expected retail sales to climb by 0.5 percent.
The uptick in retail sales was partly due to a rebound in sales by motor vehicle and parts dealers, which climbed by 0.8 percent in September after falling by 0.5 percent in August.
Excluding the rebound in auto sales, retail sales edged down by 0.1 percent in September after rising by a downwardly revised 0.2 percent in August.
Ex-auto sales had been expected to rise by 0.3 percent, matching the increase originally reported for the previous month.
Notable decreases in sales by bars and restaurants, department stores, and gas stations more than offset increases in sales by furniture and home furnishings stores, electronics and appliance stores, and non-store retailers.
Meanwhile, the report said closely watched core retail sales, which exclude automobiles, gasoline, building materials and food services, climbed by 0.5 percent in September after coming in unchanged in August.
“Overall, the current strength of underlying retail spending reflects the continued boost to incomes from the tax cuts enacted at the start of the year,” said Andrew Hunter, U.S. Economist at Capital Economics.
He added, “That said, sales growth looks most likely to slow in the fourth quarter as that boost starts to fade, and we still expect a more marked slowdown in real consumption growth over the course of next year.”
Compared to the same month a year ago, retail sales were up by 4.7 percent in September versus the 6.5 percent year-over-year jump in August.