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U.S. Retail Sales Trail Forecast, Suggesting Drag From Inflation

Economic Indicators1 hour ago (Dec 15, 2021 13:52)

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(Bloomberg) — U.S. retail sales rose by less than forecast in November, suggesting that consumers are tempering purchases against a backdrop of the fastest inflation in decades.

The value of overall retail purchases increased 0.3% last month, following an upwardly revised 1.8% advance in October, Commerce Department figures showed Wednesday. Excluding gas and motor vehicles, sales climbed 0.2% in November. The figures aren’t adjusted for inflation.

The median estimate in a Bloomberg survey called for a 0.8% gain in overall retail sales from the prior month. 

The softer-than-expected report may reflect the pulling forward of holiday sales as many Americans, aware of supply-chain slowdowns, shopped earlier than usual. 

U.S. consumer prices are rising at the fastest rate in almost 40 years. Accelerating inflation risks may give consumers additional pause in coming months, especially as remaining fiscal supports like a moratorium on federal student loan payments end early next year.

Inflation-adjusted consumer spending data for November will be released next week.

Five of the 13 retail categories showed declines in receipts last month, led by a drop at electronics and appliances merchants. Sales at non-store retailers, which includes e-commerce, were little changed in November.

Rising prices could be driving some of the increases in categories like gasoline stations and grocery stores. 

So-called control group sales — which are used to calculate gross domestic product and exclude food services, auto dealers, building materials stores and gasoline stations — fell 0.1% in November from a month earlier.

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

U.S. Retail Sales Trail Forecast, Suggesting Drag From Inflation

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