Retail Sales Beat Expectations Amid Surging Inflation

Woman shopping in a department store

U.S. retail sales increased in September, beating expectations amid growing inflation and supply chain disruptions, the U.S. Census Bureau reported Friday.

Retail sales increased 0.7% in September, beating experts’ estimates of 0.2%, according to the Census Bureau report.  The number rose 0.8%, excluding auto sales, beating the 0.5% forecast.

Sales were up 13.9% compared to September 2020, and they increased 15.6% compared to September 2020, excluding auto sales, according to the Census Bureau.

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Retail Sales Surprisingly Increased Last Month After Plummeting in July

Woman checking out a business

Retail sales unexpectedly increased last month despite continued challenges facing the economy as it recovers from the coronavirus pandemic.

Sales ticked up 0.7% in August relative to July and totaled $618.7 billion, according to a Census Bureau report published Thursday. E-commerce, furniture, general merchandise, building materials and energy purchases drove last month’s sales increase.

Dow Jones economists had expected sales to decline 0.8%, CNBC reported. In July retail sales posted a sharp 1.8% decline as coronavirus cases surged, the Census report said Thursday.

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Report: E-Commerce Prices Have Skyrocketed Because of Inflation

Online shopping prices have rapidly increased since the start of the pandemic as consumers rely more on e-commerce, according to an industry report.

While e-commerce prices trended downward between 2015-2019 as online shopping grew in popularity, the sector has seen unprecedented increases over the last year, the report published by Adobe Digital Insights on Wednesday found. At the same time, consumers are spending more purchasing goods and food online than ever before.

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Amazon Plans to Open Department Stores

Amazon is planning to open department stores where consumers can purchase a variety of goods like clothing and electronics, The Wall Street Journal reported.

The planned expansion of Amazon brick-and-mortar stores is the online retail giant’s latest attempt to disrupt the industry, according to a WSJ report Thursday. The Seattle-based company has recently expanded its brick-and-mortar grocery store footprint, opening 17 Amazon Fresh stores nationwide, and is developing at least 20 more, Bloomberg reported.

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Census Bureau: Home-Schooling More Than Doubled in 2020, Higher in Some Regions

Student working on school work at home.

Faced with ongoing state lockdowns and changing school restrictions last year, frustrated parents increasingly pulled their children out of public schools nationwide and found other educational options for their children, one of which was home-schooling.

According to a new U.S. Census Bureau Household Pulse Survey, a substantial increase in the number of parents who chose to home-school occurred in 2020 compared to 2019. The survey is the first data source to offer both a national and state-level look at the impact of COVID-19 on homeschooling rates, the report states.

Using a large, nationally representative sample of U.S. households, the survey found that home-schooling was notably higher than national benchmarks. It was conducted in phases to assess parental choices over different periods of the school year.

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