Auto parts retail sales for the first half of 2012 posted better than a 5% increase from 2011, aided in part by unseasonably warm weather in January and February; the second half of this year tells a different story, however. The third quarter ended with about a 1% decrease from the third quarter of 2011.
Total October retail sales as reported by the government were down 0.3% from September, a sign that consumers cut back on spending. Auto sales dropped 1.5%, but many economists are optimistic that this is a temporary trend.
Certainly some of October’s retail slowdown can be attributed to Hurricane Sandy. States in the Northeast account for about a quarter of the nation’s retail business due to the dense population. That doesn’t help explain the September decline in auto parts retail sales, however.
We said at the beginning of October and again a month ago that despite the soft June and August, our forecast for the year was a 3% to 4% increase over 2011, but we need to watch the economic signs closely through the end of the year to see if that holds. Check back on our blog for more updates in the coming months.
Feel free to post any comments or observations you’ve had on retail sales below… How was your September?