US retail sales up 0.2% in July

US retail sales in July 2013 (which include non-general merchandise categories such as automobiles, gasoline stations, and restaurants) increased 0.2% seasonally adjusted month-to-month and increased 5.4% adjusted year-over-year, according to the US Department of Commerce and US Census Bureau.

Retail trade sales were up 0.1% from June 2013 and 5.6% above last year. Non-store retailers were up 8.8% from July 2012 and auto and other motor vehicle dealers were up 13.3% from last year.

Other findings from the June retail sales report include: building material and garden equipment and supplies dealers stores’ sales decreased 0.4% seasonally-adjusted yet increased 9.8% unadjusted year-over-year. Clothing and clothing accessories stores’ sales increased 0.9% seasonally-adjusted month-to-month and increased 5.3% unadjusted year-over-year. Electronics and appliance stores’ sales decreased 0.1% seasonally-adjusted month-to-month, yet increased 0.8% unadjusted year-over-year. Furniture and home furnishing stores’ sales decreased 1.4% seasonally-adjusted month-to-month, yet increased 5.1% unadjusted year-over-year.

General merchandise stores’ sales increased 0.4% seasonally-adjusted month-to-month and increased 1.3% unadjusted year-over-year. Health and personal care stores’ sales increased 0.7% seasonally-adjusted month-to-month and increased 3.3% unadjusted year-over-year. Nonstore retailers’ sales increased 0.1% seasonally-adjusted month-to-month and increased 11.3% unadjusted year-over-year. Sporting goods, hobby, book and music stores’ sales increased 0.1% seasonally-adjusted month-to-month and increased 11.3% unadjusted year-over-year.

“Consumers continue to grind forward in July, marking 13 consecutive months of retail sales gains. However consumers alone can’t be expected to shoulder the burden of the economy. Fiscal and monetary policy uncertainties combined with stagnant economic and employment conditions continue to breed a volatile market with extreme swings in consumer spending. The economy can’t seem to maintain any amount of momentum. We just can’t seem to pull ourselves up,” says Matthew Shay, president, National Retail Federation (NRF).

“Spending has stalled and the economy is stuck in neutral. Even with modest employment gains and steady consumer confidence, Americans remain in a cautiously-positive spending pattern. While clothing and sporting goods retailers saw modest gains with early back-to-school shopping, home-based retailers saw marked decreases, possibly indicating the end of the year-long housing boom,” adds Jack Kleinhenz, chief economist, NRF.

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