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September sales for the combined U.S. retail and food services industries increased 4.7% from a year ago to $509 billion, and were up 0.1% from August. Retail trade sales increased 4.4% from September 2017 and 0.4% from the month before.
Furniture stores have been trailing the growth for broader retail since the spring.
Gas stations and non-store retailers — primarily e-commerce and catalog businesses — tied for the best year-over-year gains, each growing 11.4%.
The sporting goods, hobby, musical instrument and book stores sector and department stores (a subset of general merchandise store) repeated as the worst performers and the only sectors showing negative year-over-year growth — down 3.8% and 1.5%, respectively.
For the July-through-September third quarter, home furnishings store sales increased 4.2% from the same quarter last year, compared to a 5.9% increase for the overall retail and food services sector; a 5.6% increase for all retail; and a 10.5% increase for non-store retailers.