Coronavirus BRIEFING

Retail Sales for August Tick Up Slightly Following Dramatic Drop in April

WASHINGTON—Retail sales continued to recover from the coronavirus pandemic in August, showing a gradual improvement from July. The U.S. Census Bureau said yesterday that overall retail sales during August were up 0.6 percent seasonally adjusted from July and up 2.6 percent year-over-year. That follows a 0.9 percent month-over-month increase in July. Advance estimates of U.S. retail and food services sales for August 2020, adjusted for seasonal variation and holiday and trading-day differences, but not for price changes, were $537.5 billion, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

Retail sales have been climbing after a record monthly drop while most stores were closed in April.

“While August retail sales numbers were a bit mixed, we believe the consumer is resilient and is in good shape as we head into the holiday season,” National Retail Federation president and CEO Matthew Shay said.

“Over the past several months, consumers have responded well to federal relief measures that have supported the recovery, so it comes as no surprise that they would take a pause on spending as some of these programs tapered off at the end of July. We continue to advocate for additional stimulus measures to help the economy recover. With the holidays quickly approaching, our retailers are prepared to serve customers to meet all of their holiday needs and are embracing the new holiday tradition of shopping early.”

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