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Retail Commodity Survey, September 2022

Released: 2022-12-07

Retail sales reached $62.0 billion in September, an increase of 6.8% compared with the same month in 2021. Higher sales were reported in 16 of the 19 commodity classes.

The Monthly Retail Trade Survey advance estimate suggests that unadjusted total retail sales increased by 5.5% in October. Because of its preliminary nature, this figure will be revised.

Fuel sales lead retail gains

In September, higher sales of automotive and household fuels (+21.2%) was the largest contributor to the increase in dollar terms. With continued elevated prices seen at the pump, sales of automotive fuels posted their 19th consecutive annual increase in September, rising 21.3% compared with September 2021.

Sales of motor vehicles rose by 1.3% in September, the second consecutive year-over-year increase for this commodity class. Sales of used motor vehicles (+2.4%)was the largest contributor to the gain, led by used minivans, sport utility vehicles and light trucks (+3.4%). Sales of new motor vehicles increased by 0.3% from the same month in 2021, with higher sales of new minivans, sport utility vehicles and light trucks (+7.5%) being mostly offset by lower sales of new passenger cars (-33.0%).

Strong food sales continue in September

Food sales increased year over year for a sixth consecutive month in September (+8.3%). Fresh food (+7.4%) posted the largest gain within the product class, with higher sales of fresh fruit and vegetables (+9.9%) leading the gains. Packaged food dry goods (+9.1%) and frozen food (+10.9%) also posted higher receipts. Sales of soft drinks and alcoholic beverages posted a 6.7% increase compared with September 2021. Gains were led by alcoholic beverages (+5.3%) and soft drinks and non-alcoholic beverages (+10.4%).

Discretionary products on the rise

Sales of hardware, tools, and renovation and lawn and garden products grew 8.0% in September. The majority of the gain came from higher sales of renovation materials and supplies (+8.0%), with lumber and other renovation materials and supplies (+9.2%) accounting for the bulk of the increase.

Sales of clothing (+11.8%) remained strong in September, posting their eighth consecutive monthly gain over sales levels from the same eight months in 2019, before the COVID-19 pandemic. Sales in the women's clothing (+12.9%) and men's clothing (+18.1%) subclasses recorded increases. Sales of footwear continued to increase in September 2022, rising by 9.9% compared with the same month in 2021.

  Note to readers

The Retail Commodity Survey collects national-level retail sales data, by commodity, from the same businesses surveyed in the Monthly Retail Trade Survey. No data have been seasonally adjusted. All percentage changes are year over year.

From the May 2022 release of February data, estimates for the Monthly Retail Trade Survey are being calculated using a new sample. The sample is periodically refreshed to reflect the evolution of the target population since the last sample was drawn. The change is reflected on the Business Register through births, deaths and reclassifications to the target population. The sample design has also been modified to be more efficient and to allow an increased use of administrative data sources.

Regular annual revisions for 2021 and 2020 and typical historical revisions were also included in the new data series.

The data have been revised using historical linkage factors designed to preserve the continuity of the time series. This linkage method leads to larger revisions for more recent periods.

Find more statistics on retail trade.

Contact information

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