Retail sales increase for sixth consecutive month as pandemic aids online sellers


Retail sales increased by 0.3% in October, the U.S. Census Bureau reported Tuesday, marking the sixth consecutive month of growth.

Retail activity in October did not meet expectations as the increase was anticipated to be 0.5%.

October’s growth was much smaller than the 1.6% increase in retail sales from September.

With the pandemic prompting people to shop online, non-store retailers such as Amazon have seen a 29.1% increase in sales from October 2019 and an increase of 3.1% from last month.

The opposite is true for brick-and-mortar stores. Sales for clothing and book stores, sporting goods outlets, and hobby shops were down 4.2% from last month.

The virus has encouraged home improvements. Sales for building material, garden equipment, and supplies were up 19.5% from last October and 0.9% from September.

Cooler temperatures in October made outdoor dining difficult for restaurants, as sales for food services and drinking places contracted 0.1% from last month. This sector has suffered mightily from the pandemic, with sales down more than 14% over the past year.

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