Economists' Outlook

Housing stats and analysis from NAR's research experts.

Instant Reaction: Retail Trade Sales, November 17, 2020

Seasonally adjusted advanced estimates of United States retail and food services sales increased over the prior month as October sales continued the increasing trend. Retail and food service sales are estimated at $553.3 billion which is a 0.3% increase from September figures and up 5.7% year-over-year.

Retail trade sales were up 0.3% from the prior month and up 8.5% from the same period a year ago. Nonstore retailers continue to outpace other subsectors of retail trade as nonstore retailers were up 29.1% year-over-year. Building material and garden equipment and supplies dealers followed suit as it was up 19.5% from the prior year and up 0.4% from the prior month.

On a month-over-month basis, there were only increases in nonstore retailers, gasoline stations, building material & garden equipment & supplies dealers, electronics & appliance stores and motor vehicle & parts dealers at 3.1%, 0.4%, 0.8%, 1.1%, and 0.4% respectively.

Nonstore retail continues to be a pillar within retail trade as it is supported by consumers spending more time at home as a result of work-from-home and the return of lockdowns, and as such, consumers are shopping online more than ever before.

Food services and drinking place sales remained essentially unchanged from the prior month as it continues to produce the largest year-over-year percent decrease of retail trade, down 14.2%.