SpendingPulse: Strong results for most retail sectors in September

Purchase, N.Y. -- Consumer spending remained strong for most sectors in September, according to MasterCard Advisors SpendingPulse, a macroeconomic report tracking national retail and service sales. Most segments reported positive year-over-year sales results, with particularly strong results in the apparel, hardware, and department store sectors.

“The U.S. consumer continues to spend across multiple sectors outside of the sectors tied to the housing market,” said Michael McNamara, VP research and analysis for MasterCard Advisors SpendingPulse. “This resilience in retail sales growth has been impressive in spite of disruptive weather, high gasoline prices and generally negative economic news.”

McNamara suggested that some of the boost in year-over-year results may be due to the aftermath of Hurricane Irene back in August, particularly in stores with a strong presence on the East Coast. The strong performance in hardware may reflect some repair work, and September’s apparel sales may have been boosted by delayed back-to-school shopping, he said.

In other news, the poor housing market continues to be reflected in declines in furniture, furnishings, and electronics and appliances.

The SpendingPulse Back-to-School sales index shows a year-over-year increase of 3.6%, compared with the July-September time period in 2010. This index aggregates the sales performance for children’s apparel, family apparel, department stores, office supplies and drug stores. Children’s apparel, for example, had the highest year/year growth since 2007, and all the Back-to-School categories showed increases compared with the 2010 season, according to the report.

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