Weather, calendar combine to bruise retailers
September 14, 2004,
WASHINGTON, DC -- According to the National Retail Federation (NRF), August retail sales in the GAFS category (general merchandise stores, clothing and clothing accessories stores, furniture and home furnishings stores, electronics and appliances stores, and sporting goods, hobby, book and music stores) rose 2 percent over last year but dipped 0.4 percent over July.&p>Consumers last month were impacted by severe weather throughout the country, shifting school schedules, and a late Labor Day weekend, said the NRF.&p>August retail sales released today by the U.S. Commerce Department show that total retail sales – which include non-general merchandise categories such as autos, gasoline stations and restaurants -- dipped 0.3 percent seasonally adjusted over July and increased 4.6 percent unadjusted year-over-year, stated the NRF.&p>Furniture and home furnishings stores experienced a slight decline, falling 0.9 percent seasonally adjusted from July though continuing to rise 5.3 percent over last year.&p>First quarter GAFS sales increased 9.9 percent, and second quarter sales rose 6.8 percent. The NRF has forecast 2004 GAFS sales to grow 6 percent over last year.
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