Retail sales are up; will it last through the holidays?

August saw retail sales increase by 0.7%, but supply chain issues lend to a murky outlook for the rest of the year.

September 29, 2021
  • Ebere Anokute

U.S. retail sales rise 0.7% in August

Question for you all – does anyone else feel like they spend more money in the summer than any other time of year? Whether it’s a result of reuniting with friends after an unprecedented 18 months or the first breeze of fall that necessitates a wardrobe refresh, all I know is that the end of summer had my pockets HURTING.

Well, it appears I’m not alone in this sentiment: despite fears that the Delta variant and supply chain issues would discourage consumers, retail sales rose in August, increasing by 0.7% over July’s totals. This figure was noticeably greater than the Dow Jones estimate, which forecasted that retail sales would decline by 0.8%. In fact, were it not for a sizable decrease in sales for the automotive industry, sales would have actually increased by 1.8%. It’s no doubt that this prosperity was buoyed by back-to-school shopping, which generally results in a pickup in activity, but especially so this year as schools prepared to welcome back students to the classrooms after nearly a full year of remote learning. In addition to automotive sales, which decreased by 3.7%, electronics and appliance stores (3.1%) and sporting goods and music stores (2.7%) also saw sales drop. Meanwhile, categories like home furnishings and general merchandise stores saw increases, with sales growing by 3.7% and 3.5%, respectively. Overall, these numbers reflected a positive trend among consumers, with sales up 15.1% from the same period last year.


Facebook and Ray Bans launch new line of smart glasses 

Just as I’m lamenting about how much money I’ve spent this summer, Facebook and Ray-Bans are giving me another reason for me to swipe my credit card. The two companies have partnered on a new pair of smart glasses called “Ray-Ban Stories” which are intended to be used to take pictures, capture short videos, make calls, and play music. Although smart glasses are not a new concept (I’m sure we all remember the gaudily designed Google Glass and more recently, the aptly named Snapchat Spectacles) these glasses have one important edge over their antecedents: they look nice. The glasses come in three styles, including the iconic Wayfarer, and five hues, providing options for those who like to coordinate their accessories with their outfits. These upgraded Wayfarers have a discreet camera that can take photos and videos through voice command or with a touch button on the temples. They can also pair seamlessly with a smartphone via Bluetooth, and with the use of an app called Facebook View, the photos and videos are almost instantly transferred to your phone, perfect for sharing.

(Source: CNN)


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Grocery delivery service, Gorillas, leases space in East Village 

It’s no secret that grocery retailers have made away like bandits throughout the pandemic and are reinvesting those gains back into their businesses to stay competitive. On-demand delivery has been a major part of the grocery boom – so much so that some new retailers are leasing space for the sole purpose of fulfilling grocery delivery orders. Gorillas is a Berlin-based grocery delivery startup that promises to deliver groceries to customers (in certain NYC neighborhoods) in 10 minutes or less. They accomplish this by leasing space across the city to use as delivery hubs and have recently signed on for the newest of these “dark stores” at 426-430 East 14th Street in the East Village, where they’ll occupy 7,050 square feet over the next ten years. No word yet on what happens if your groceries arrive after 10 minutes, but with an aggressive promise like that, I’m thinking they should be free!




Contact Ebere Anokute

Senior Analyst, Research