There were a lot of things consumers didn’t do, such as flying – passenger traffic in the US was down 65% from a year ago – staying at hotels, going to the movies, and the like. And the money not-spent on these services got spent on other stuff. About 7% of households with a home mortgage got their mortgage moved into forbearance, and they no longer have to make mortgage payments for the forbearance period, and that money of those not-made mortgage payments got spent elsewhere. And some renters, protected by eviction bans, have stopped making rental payments and spent the money on other stuff.
The average transaction price of new vehicles has also risen, under the dual impact of consumers buying higher-priced vehicles, particularly high-end trucks, and price increases of new vehicles. Total new vehicle sales, including fleet sales, in September were still down about 4.3% from a year ago. But retail sales were stronger year-over-year.
Sales at department stores jumped 9.7% in September from August, to $10.3 billion, likely boosted by liquidation sales at stores scheduled to be shuttered by numerous chains, those that filed for bankruptcy in prior months and those that are trying to avoid a bankruptcy filing by shedding stores. This does not include ecommerce sales of department store brands, just sales at brick-and-mortar stores. Year-over-year, sales are down 7.3%:Stimulus & Debt-Deferral Economy: Americans Splurged. Huge Price Increases Boosted Auto Sales. Liquidation Sales Pumped up Department Stores | Wolf Street