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August retail sales growth remain ‘tepid’

By Nick Bullock
Published: September 20, 2013
August proved to be a mixed bag for hobby stores nationally.

The retail category of hobby, sporting goods, book and music stores saw a .5 percent seasonally adjusted, month-to-month decrease. However, the category saw a 3.7 percent unadjusted, year-over-year increase, according to a press release from the National Retail Federation.

“Slow growth continues to be the economic story five years after the financial crisis,” NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay said. “The economy, employment, wages and retail sales continue to stagger along. Retailers and consumers are resilient but not overly optimistic about the broader economy. While positive retail sales growth continues month-after-month, it is just not strong enough to move the needle.”

As a whole, retail sales increased in August but at a slower pace than anticipated. August retail sales (excluding automobiles, gas stations and restaurants) increased .1 percent, seasonally adjusted from last month. August retail sales saw a 3.9 percent unadjusted, year-over-year increase, according to the NRF, which cited U.S. Census Bureau data.

“Retail sales gains continue to be tepid,” NRF Chief Economist Jack Kleinhenz said. “Retail sales and employment, while measurably positive, have been disappointing over the last few months, and have been difficult to reconcile with consumer confidence. The data suggests that consumers remain cautious with their pocketbooks and purchases.

“This month’s weak retail sales report will continue to put pressure on policymakers, who are dealing with tapering, and retailers, who will need to focus on price and value to entice consumer spending.”