October sell-through for the nation’s CE and appliance retailers fell 4 percent year over year to $8.3 billion, according to preliminary estimates by the U.S. Census Bureau.
Sales were essentially flat from September, as some consumers may have held off big-ticket purchases while awaiting the outcome of the rancorous presidential elections.
The same effect could be seen within the department store sector, which plunged 7.3 percent in October.
Yet business was more robust for other channels, including furniture and home furnishings stores, up 1.7 percent, and e-tailers and other direct sellers, whose sales soared 12.9 percent.
Total retail sales, excluding food and autos, were up 4.3 percent, and all figures were adjusted for seasonal variation and for holiday and trading day differences, but not for price changes.
Jack Kleinhenz, chief economist for the National Retail Federation (NRF), an industry trade group, said the rising retail sale totals “show that consumer spending improved despite the headwinds from the polarizing election.”
He added that recent solid wage gains and other improving fundamentals are “positioning consumers and retailers for the healthy holiday season NRF is forecasting.”