The U.S. Commerce Department reported on Wednesday sales in September fell 1.3% to $226.13 billion after increasing 0.5% in August. Wholesale inventories fell 0.1% for the month to $297.92 billion after a 0.2% drop in August.
Newport Communications Senior Economist Jim Haughey says the news is not surprising after earlier reports of a 4.2%decline in manufacturing shipments, a 1.8% fall-off in consumer spending and the loss of 415,000 jobs.
“This is a relatively small decline that suggests that retailers may have bought too much stock in September,” he says. “Figures that show wholesalers managed to cut inventory, while sales fell suddenly, signals a quick reaction, taking the full negative impact of the September attacks by the end of September.”
He notes inventories are a few days too high, but even a partial sales rebound in October will put inventories back in balance. Manufacturers did the same, managing to cut inventory almost 1%.
As for trucking, Hauhey adds the industry “took a parallel hit in September, but should see a similar partial rebound in October.”