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Special Report

Retail Sales Research Brief

September 2021

Consumers Moved Away From Service Providers, Boosting Retail Spending

Core retail sales reverse course in August. Shoppers remained active at the end of the summer, driven by online spending and back-to-school sales. Overall, core retail sales increased by 2.0 percent between July and August, largely due to an increase in nonstore spending of 5.3 percent. More people stayed home in some areas of the country to avoid the challenges associated with the much more contagious delta strain of COVID-19. Others kept away from restaurants, funneling funds into grocery stores, which saw a 2.1 percent rise in receipts during August. Fortunately, positive cases have begun to decline across the South, so more service-oriented spending could occur in the coming months.

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