The National Retail Federation (NRF) and CNBC have launched their new monthly “CNBC/NRF Retail Monitor” and released October 2023 retail sales data. The CNBC/NRF Retail Monitor uses actual, real-time debit and credit card purchase data in an effort to provide more accurate and timely insights into retail sales activity across all U.S. sectors, categories and markets.

The new Retail Monitor partnership reported that total October retail sales, excluding automobiles and gas, were down 0.08 percent from September and up 2.57 percent year-over-year (YoY). That compares sequentially with increases of 0.23 percent month-over-month (MoM) and 4.93 percent year-over-year in September.

The Retail Monitor calculation of core retail sales, which excludes automobile dealers, gasoline stations and restaurants to focus on core retail, shows that retail sales were essentially flat, coming in marginally down 0.03 percent seasonally-adjusted from September and up 2.63 percent year-over-year, unadjusted. In September, core retail sales were up 0.09 percent month-over-month and up 4.39 percent year-over-year.

October sales were reportedly up in five out of nine retail categories on a yearly basis, led by non-store, sporting goods/hobby/music/bookstores, and health and personal care, and up or unchanged in four out of nine categories on a monthly basis. Specifics from key sectors include:

  • Online and other non-store sales were up 1.18 percent MoM seasonally-adjusted and up 29.1 percent YoY unadjusted.
  • Sporting goods, hobby, music and bookstores were up 1.45 percent MoM seasonally-adjusted and up 8.88 percent YoY unadjusted.
  • Health and personal care stores were up 0.77 percent MoM seasonally-adjusted and up 5.98 percent YoY unadjusted.
  • Food and beverage stores were up 0.23 percent MoM and up 2.59 percent YoY unadjusted.
  • General merchandise stores were down 0.57 percent MoM seasonally-adjusted and down 1.57 percent YoY unadjusted.
  • Clothing and accessories stores were down 0.78 percent MoM and up 2.72 percent YoY unadjusted.
  • Building and garden supply stores were down 0.5 percent MoM and up 0.89 percent YoY unadjusted.
  • Furniture and home furnishings stores were down 1.29 percent MoM seasonally-adjusted and down 5.24 percent YoY unadjusted.
  • Electronics and appliance stores were down 1.38 percent MoM seasonally-adjusted and down 4.66 percent YoY unadjusted.

The CNBC/NRF Retail Monitor reportedly leverages Affinity Solutions’ data from more than 140 million credit and debit cards, with nearly nine billion transactions totaling more than $500 billion in annual spending, to measure the monthly and annual change in U.S. retail sales.

“The CNBC/NRF Retail Monitor will provide comprehensive, granular and timely insights that measure monthly retail sales and gauge the state of the retail industry, the consumer and the broader economy,” said NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay. “The CNBC/NRF Retail Monitor will modernize how retail sales are tracked and measured, and Affinity Solutions’ vast dataset of how, what and where the consumer is spending will identify how key demographics and channels are performing for the industry generally and for specific retail sectors.”

The Retail Monitor data will be announced approximately one week prior to the U.S. Census Bureau’s Retail Sales figures. CNBC, First in Business Worldwide, will provide an in-depth analysis of the monthly retail sales findings across CNBC’s multiple platforms.

The CNBC/NRF Retail Monitor is a product that was jointly developed by CNBC and NRF’s new Center for Retail & Consumer Insights, together with Affinity Solutions. CRCI is NRF’s hub for data-driven insights into the modern retail industry and the consumers who drive it.

Photo courtesy CNBC