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Special Report

Retail Sales Research Brief

October 2021

September Retail Sales Outperform as Foot Traffic Remains Elevated

Consumer spending sturdy last month. Unfazed by the end of federal unemployment benefits and other dissipating stimulus, core retail sales increased 0.7 percent in September and 13.5 percent from the same period last year. Although inflation, which climbed 0.4 percent last month, was a contributing factor to the rise, the overall spending picture remained brighter than anticipated. Lingering back-to-school shopping and wider office openings contributed to the gains as apparel and gas station spending advanced 1.1 percent and 1.8 percent, respectively. Only two of the 13 major retail sectors recorded declines last month: electronics and appliance stores and health stores.

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