The Journal Gazette
 
 
Saturday, October 16, 2021 1:00 am

Retail sales rise, but prices soaring

ANNE D'INNOCENZIO | Associated Press

NEW YORK – Americans continued to spend at a solid clip in September even while facing sticker shock in grocery aisles, car lots and restaurants as snarled global supply chains slow the flow of goods.

Retail sales increased a seasonally adjusted 0.7% in September from the month before, the U.S. Commerce Department said Friday.

That was a stronger showing than expected. Yet there are lingering concerns as to how resilient shoppers will be if prices continue to head north and shortages lead to frustration heading into the crucial holiday season.

Consumer spending drives about 70% of all U.S. economic activity and a sustained recovery from a pandemic-induced recession will require their participation.

There is no evidence that Americans are pulling back, however, and spending last month was heavy everywhere, from clothing, sporting goods and toy stores to car lots.

“They are coming to enjoy the experience with their families that they hadn't been able to do in a long time,” said Tiffany Markofsky, chief communications officer at a small toy store chain called Camp.

Camp is reporting strong traffic in stores and has been able to secure popular toys through close ties with its suppliers, Markofsky said.

Some of the increased spending by consumers is the direct result of spiking prices. A gallon of gasoline today costs about $1 more than it did at this time last year, so in many cases, Americans aren't buying more, they're just paying more.


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