Total retail sales in August were $3.083 billion, a 4.6% growth in sales compared to August 2020. When compared to July 2021, sales fell by 6.9%. In July, sales began to slow down with a 1% decrease compared to june 2021.
Year to date retail sales in August reached $24.441 billion, an increase of 26.8% compared to the same period in 2020. Another useful comparison is with August 2019. This allows for understanding current levels of sales compared to pre-pandemic tendencies. Compared to the total accumulated from January to August in 2019, retail sales increased by 21% or $4.242 billion in 2021. The largest increases were in Department Stores with $1.9 billion (31%), supermarkets and alcoholic beverages stores with an $918.3 million (42%) increase, and Electronic Articles stores with a $378 million (90%) increase.
Compared to August 2020, the categories with the largest increases in sales were New & Used Vehicles with a $53.5 million (14.9%) increase, Restaurants and alcoholic beverage places with a $31.7 million (21%) increase, and supermarkets and alcoholic beverage stores with a $29.26 million (8%) increase.
While total Retail Sales in August were $134.5 million higher compared to August 2020, electronic articles stores, furniture stores, department stores, hardware and house materials stores, auto parts stores and others all had decreases sales. Electronic articles stores sold $24.1 million (-17.2%) less, furniture stores $16.5 (-21.3%) less and Department Stores $11.7 (-1.1%) less.
Entering the last quarter of 2021, retail Sales may be marked by worldwide supply chain problems. On the other hand, businesses should keep an eye out for ever-changing pandemic-era public policies. The holiday season represents a yearly peak for sales, but also for large-scale gatherings, which could lead to increases in COVID-19 cases. Trying to plan ahead with the seasonal elements as well as the public policies and supply-chain is necessary for the next weeks.