A customer shops at a Costco store in San Francisco on October 2, 2023.

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According to the new CNBC/NRF Retail Monitor, consumers paused in spending ahead of the holiday season, with October retail sales (excluding cars and gasoline) falling 0.08% and core retail, which also excludes restaurants, falling 0.03 % decreased.

The new Retail Monitor, debuting Monday, is a joint product of CNBC and the National Retail Federation and is based on data from Affinity Solutions, a leading consumer purchasing information company. The data comes from more than 9 billion annual credit and debit card transactions collected and anonymized by Affinity, representing over $500 billion in revenue. The cards are issued by more than 1,400 financial institutions.

The data differs from the Census Bureau’s retail sales report because it is the result of actual consumer purchases, whereas the Census relies on survey data. Government data is frequently revised as additional survey data becomes available. The CNBC/NRF Retail Monitor will not be revised as it is calculated based on actual transactions during the month. However, a seasonally adjusted calculation is made using the same program as the census.

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“The CNBC/NRF Retail Monitor will modernize the way retail sales are tracked and measured, and Affinity Solutions’ extensive data set on how, what and where the consumer spends will identify key demographics and channels for the industry at large and “develop for specific retail sectors,” said NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay.

“Our audience, investors and executives alike, will now be armed with dynamic insights that go beyond headlines to reveal emerging trends and important details,” said Dan Colarusso, senior vice president of business news at CNBC.

Weakness in electronics and furniture

October data shows a slowdown in consumer spending, consistent with Wall Street consensus forecasts. Year-over-year, both total retail and core retail sales increased 2.6%.

October data showed weakness in gas station sales, electronics and home appliances, and furniture and home furnishings stores. Strengths were found in sporting goods and hobby stores, as well as non-store retail and internet sales, and health and personal care products.

Economists started modestly before the pandemic and accelerated during the outbreak. They used real and high-frequency private sector data to assess the economy. In some cases, this was due to a lack of government data, as some authorities were unable to collect information while others found response rates limited. In other cases, economists looked at data that wasn’t readily available from government sources, such as data on subway ridership or how much “card-free” consumer spending, to assess whether Americans continue to shy away from in-person shopping.

As the pandemic has passed, the trend towards actual, high-frequency and private data has continued to expand.

“Retail Monitor ushers in a new era of retail intelligence where data is not just a resource – it is a roadmap to understanding and engaging with the modern consumer,” said Jonathan Silver, CEO and founder of Affinity Solutions. Affinity is also a leading data provider for Wall Street.

In the coming months, Retail Monitor will provide demographic breakdowns of spending by age, income and geography.

Source : www.cnbc.com

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