Retail sales slides by 0.4%; Export/Import Prices down, first in 6 months

Retail Sales: U.S. retail and food services sales for September, adjusted for seasonal variation and holiday and trading-day differences, but not for price changes, were $366.2 billion, a decrease of 0.4 percent from the previous month, but up 5.5 percent from September 2005, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Total sales for the July through September 2006 period were up 5.6 percent from the same period a year ago. 
Retail trade sales were down 0.6 percent from August, but were 5.2 percent above last year. Nonstore retailers were up 12.9 percent from September 2005 and sales of clothing and clothing accessories stores were up 10.7 percent from last year.

Business Invesntories:

Business inventories, the combined value of distributive trade sales and manufacturers’ shipments, for August, adjusted for seasonal and trading-day differences but not for price changes, was estimated at $1,075.3 billion, up 0.8 percent from July and up 8.1 percent from August 2005, according to the U.S. Census Bureau

Manufacturers’ and trade inventories adjusted for seasonal variations but not for price changes, were estimated at an end-of-month level of $1,357.0 billion, up 0.6 percent from July and up 7.7 percent from August 2005.  The total business inventories/sales ratio based on seasonally adjusted data at the end of August was 1.26, compared to 1.27 for August 2005. 

Export/Import Prices:

The U.S. Import Price Index fell 2.1 percent in September, the Bureau of Labor Statistics of the U.S. Department of Labor reported. The decline was the first in six months and was driven by a 10.3 percent drop in petroleum prices. Export prices decreased 0.5 percent in September, the first decline for the index since November 2005.

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