The unprecedented slump in U.S. retail sales for the month of August can be blamed on both Hurricane Harvey and Amazon. The sales figures for August went up 0.2 percent minus auto sales. Factor in the auto sales and the figures actually fell by 0.2 percent. Hurricane Harvey was to blame for the 1.6 percent decline in auto sales although other factors may have contributed to this percentage.
Online shopping registered an unusual drop of 1.1 percent captured in the segment referred to as non-store retail sales. According to Ward McCarthy, chief financial economist at Jefferies, the July 11 Amazon Prime Day boosted online sales which rose by 1.8 percent. The sudden decline in figures for August can therefore be attributed to normalization of the market. He added that a closer look indicates that there was an 8 percent growth year over year on overall non-store sales.