Today's retail sales report for July showed some much needed good news for the US economy, as the reported numbers exceeded estimates on all fronts. Not only was the actual number better than expected, but the strength was broad based. Of the subsectors that make up total retail sales, all thirteen increased during the month. You have to go all the way back to April 2005 to find the last time that all thirteen components of retail sales increased in the same month. Furthermore, going all the way back to 1992, this has only happened three other times.
The table below shows the monthly change in retail sales by subsector. Of the thirteen groups shown, Sporting Goods (1.60%) and Non Store/Online (1.54%) retailers showed the largest growth, while Food and Beverage Stores (0.31%) and Gas Stations (0.50%) saw the slowest growth.
The secular growth in online sales at Non Store Retailers has continued unabated in recent months and even appears to be accelerating the trend from bricks and mortar retail to online. The chart below shows the total share of retail sales coming from Non Store Retailers since 1993. Back then, sales from this group accounted for less than 4% of total sales. Today, the total share of sales has more than doubled to 9.1%. In the last year alone, Non Store Retailers have seen their share increase from 8.4% to 9.1%! As we have noted numerous times in the past, one of the biggest losers in the ongoing shift from bricks to clicks has been retailers of Electronics and Appliances, where the total share of retail sales is now at its lowest level since 1993.
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