Stimulus & Debt-Deferral Economy: Americans Splurged. Huge Price Increases Boosted Auto Sales. Liquidation Sales Pumped Up Department Stores

by Wolf Richter
Wolf Street

Depicted by my 13 whiplash-charts.

Total retail sales – sales of goods in stores and online, but not including services such as doctor’s visits, insurance, airline tickets, hotel bookings, rent, etc. – in September jumped by 1.9% from August, to a record of $549 billion (seasonally adjusted), according to the Census Bureau. Compared to September 2019, retail sales were up 5.4%.

But as we’ll see in a moment, there were huge differences between categories, from sales at clothing stores and restaurants which, though they bounced a lot, were still below where they’d been years ago; to sales at stores for building materials and garden supplies, which jumped from record to record during the crisis:

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