September Retail Sales Fall

NEW YORK (TheStreet) - After being delayed by more than two weeks due to the government shutdown, the Commerce Department on Tuesday finally released September retail sales and the numbers weren't good.

U.S. food and retail sales declined 0.1% in September from August to $425.9 billion, according to the latest Commerce Department figures released on Tuesday, below economists' expectations of a 0.1% rise.

Retail sales excluding motor vehicles and parts rose 0.4% compared to the month before, in line with consensus estimates.

Retail sales have been buoyed this year by the strong buying of cars as well as home furnishings as the home buying market has been strong. However, consumers may be over their car-buying frenzy. September sales from motor vehicle and parts dealers fell 2.2% for the month, compared to a 0.9% increase in the prior month.

Furniture and home furnishing stores rose just 0.2% in September from August.

Consumers didn't seem to be buying apparel either last month. Proving that the back-to-school season was indeed softer than expected, clothing and clothing accessories stores saw a 0.5% decline in September.

Retail sales last month increased 3.2% compared to September 2012, according to government data. The Commerce Department did not change its July to August 2013 retail sales percent change of 0.2%.

Written by Laurie Kulikowski in New York.