Commerce Department: Retail Sales Mixed in October

doclogoThere’s good news and not-so-good news in the latest data from the Commerce Department.

A rise in auto sales in October helped propel retail sales to a higher-than-expected 1.4 percent, although the .2 percent increase in non-auto retail sales was half what economists expected.  Sales at retail and department stores increased, while sales at big-ticket furniture and appliance stores fell.

The drop in business inventories was slightly smaller than expected, but inventories remain low, indicating that factories could increase production over current levels as orders rise in the coming months. The inventory-to-sales ratio, however, was flat from August to September, suggesting that inventories are keeping pace with current consumer demand.

Table of Data on Inventories from the Commerce Dept

 Dollar figures in billions, seasonally adjusted.
                         September     August
Business Inventories,     1303.40      1309.22
 Percent Change             -0.4         -1.6
Manufacturers Inventories  492.65       497.47
Retailers Inventories      432.97       430.60
Wholesalers Inventories    377.78       381.15
Inventories, Unadjusted   1303.33      1298.01
 Percent Change              0.4         -1.5
Sales                      987.97       991.09
 Percent Change             -0.3          1.1
Inventory-to-Sales           1.32        1.32
 Ratio in Months

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