US retail sales show moderate gains

US retail sales in June 2013 (which include non-general merchandise categories such as automobiles, gasoline stations, and restaurants) increased 0.4% seasonally adjusted month-to-month and increased 5.7% adjusted year-over-year, according to the US Department of Commerce and US Census Bureau. Retail trade sales were up 0.6% from May 2013 and 6% above last year. Non-store retailers were up 13.8% from June 2012 and auto and other motor vehicle dealers were up 12.9% from last year.

Other findings from the June retail sales report include: building material and garden equipment and supplies dealers stores’ sales decreased 2.2% seasonally-adjusted yet increased 6.1% unadjusted year-over-year. Clothing and clothing accessories stores’ sales increased 0.7% seasonally-adjusted month-to-month and increased 3.4% unadjusted year-over-year. Electronics and appliance stores’ sales decreased 0.1% seasonally-adjusted month-to-month and decreased 2.3% unadjusted year-over-year Furniture and home furnishing stores’ sales increased 2.4% seasonally-adjusted month-to-month and increased 1.6% unadjusted year-over-year.

General merchandise stores’ sales increased 0.1% seasonally-adjusted month-to-month and increased 0.7% unadjusted year-over-year. Health and personal care stores’ sales increased 0.2% seasonally-adjusted month-to-month and increased 0.7% unadjusted year-over-year. Nonstore retailers’ sales increased 2.1% seasonally-adjusted month-to-month and increased 11.5% unadjusted year-over-year. Sporting goods, hobby, book and music stores’ sales increased 0.7% seasonally-adjusted month-to-month and increased 0.2% unadjusted year-over-year.

“Consumers remain wary. Even though healthy home prices and stock values are helping to improve confidence and spending, stagnantly-high unemployment, higher taxes and lingering policy uncertainty continue to keep shoppers and economic growth at bay. The recovery is solid and good but its pace remains measured and modest,” says Matthew Shay, president, National Retail Federation (NRF).

“The consumer economy is improving but growth rates and retail sales will remain reserved for the foreseeable future. US households have adjusted their spending to a slow-growth economy. With employment and consumer confidence improving, we expect that the second half will be better than the first,” adds Jack Kleinhenz, chief economist, NRF.

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