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Thomas StorringDirector – Economics and Statistics
Tel: 902-424-2410Email:

September 16, 2020

The US Census Bureau announced today that the advance estimates of U.S retail and food service sales for August 2020, was a seasonally adjusted , month-over-month 0.6 per cent increase ($3.0 billion) over July 2020 to  $537.5 billion,  and a year-over-year 2.6 per cent increase over August 2019.

Food service and drinking place month-over-month receipts increased 4.7 per cent to $54.6 billion. Excluding food services and drinking places, retail trade sales increased 0.1 per cent over July 2020, and increased 5.1 per cent over August 2019.

Year-over-Year (August 2020 vs August 2019) 

The United States seasonally adjusted Retail Trade & Food Services increased 2.6 per cent over August 2019.

  • Retail trade increased 5.1 per cent
  • Food services and drinking places sales  decreased 15.4 per cent




Year-over-Year (August 2020 vs August 2019)


In percentage terms, sales were up in 8 of 13 retail categories. The fastest gains being reported in non-store retailers (22.4%) and the largest declines seen in Clothing (-24.4%).

Retail Trade increased 5.1% ($23.4 billion) to $483 billion.

  • Motor vehicle sector increased 4.5% ($4.7 billion)
  • Furniture stores increased 3.8% ($0.4 billion)
  • Electronics stores decreased 2.4% (-$0.2 billion)
  • Building materials increased 15.4% ($5.0 billion) 
  • Food and beverage stores increased 10.0% ($6.5 billion)
  • Heath, personal care stores increased 5.6% ($1.7 billion)
  • Gasoline Stations decreased 15.4% (-$6.4 billion)
  • Clothing stores  decreased 20.4% (-$4.5 billion)
  • Sports and hobby stores increased 11.1% ($0.7 billion)
  • General merchandise stores increased 0.8% ($0.5 billion)
  • Miscellaneous retail decreased 0.6% (-$0.1 billion)
  • Non-store retailers increased 22.4% ($15.2 billion)

Food services, drinking places decreased 15.4% (-$10.0 billion) to $54.6 billion. 

Source: US Census BureauData Tables


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