Year-over-year gains for NAICS 444

Building material and garden supply dealer sales grow 8.8% in August.
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Sales at building materials and garden supply stores, businesses that fall under the NAICS 444 classification, were up 0.9% month-over-month seasonally adjusted, and up 8.8% unadjusted year-over-year.

That slice of data was released Thursday morning by the U.S. Census Bureau’s Advance Monthly Sales report for August.

LBM and hardware businesses under performed compared to most other segments tracked by Census Bureau. While overall retail sales in August were up 0.7% seasonally adjusted from July, the year-over-year for retail in general was up 15.1%, as those sectors closed during the pandemic made up for lost time and pent-up demand.

The National Retail Federation pointed to a trifecta of challenges for retailers in August: tapering off of government stimulus, elevated COVID-19 infections and ongoing supply chain challenges in the form of shortages of labor and goods. Still NRP President and CFO Matthew Shay stated: “The increase in August retail sales reflects the continued strength of the American consumer and the resilience of our nation’s retailers.”

According to the Advance Monthly Sales report, NAICS 444 retailers generated unadjusted sales of $39,878 million in August. That’s up from $36,664 million in the same month a year ago.

Data for the subset of hardware stores (NAICS 44413) is not available yet for August. The latest update shows July hardware store sales at an estimated $2.97 billion. That’s down from $3.03 billion in the same month last year.

NRF Chief Economist Jack Kleinhenz described the consumer as “rock solid” in his analysis of the monthly data. “Higher sales came even with a disjointed back-to-school season that also affected the timing of sales as many school districts returned to in-person learning but some delayed classes until after Labor Day. These results pave the way for sturdy consumer spending and a strong economy in the fourth quarter.”

Other than NAICS 444, here's how the various retail segments performed, based on the report:

• Clothing and clothing accessory stores were up 0.1% month-over-month seasonally adjusted and up 36.6% unadjusted year-over-year.

• Sporting goods stores were down 2.7% month-over-month seasonally adjusted but up 20.3% unadjusted year-over-year.

• Electronics and appliance stores were down 3.1% month-over-month seasonally adjusted but up 18% unadjusted year-over-year.

• Furniture and home furnishings stores were up 3.7% month-over-month seasonally adjusted and up 16.1% unadjusted year-over-year.

• General merchandise stores were up 3.5% month-over-month seasonally adjusted and up 13.6% unadjusted year-over-year.

• Health and personal care stores were up 0.2% month-over-month seasonally adjusted and up 10.6% unadjusted year-over-year.

• Online and other non-store sales were up 5.3% month-over-month seasonally adjusted and up 10.6% unadjusted year-over-year.

• Grocery and beverage stores were up 1.8% month-over-month seasonally adjusted and up 4.8% unadjusted year-over-year.



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