July retail sales up but cautious consumer spending expected: NRF

RetailME Bureau

Retail sales in the US were up 0.9% in July seasonally adjusted from June and up 5.6% unadjusted year-over-year, stated National Retail Federation (NRF). The numbers exclude automobile dealers, gasoline stations and restaurants.

Commenting on the results, NRF Chief Economist Jack Kleinhenz, said, “July’s strong results are consistent with a confident consumer. Households are in good shape with spending and that should continue as long as the labour market remains healthy. But it’s important to remember that today’s data is looking backward at what was happening a month ago. The impact of volatile financial markets and increased trade tensions in recent weeks may put a wind of caution in consumer spending as we move forward in 2019.”

The release of July’s numbers came two days after the Trump administration delayed new tariffs on some consumer goods until December 15, 2019 to avoid any impact on holiday spending, but many products will still be hit by tariffs taking effect September 1, 2019 as scheduled.

As of July, the three-month moving average was up 3.5% over the same period a year ago, compared with 3.7% in June. July’s results build on gains of 0.6% month-over-month and 2.2% year-over-year seen in June.

NRF’s numbers are based on data from the US Census Bureau, which said today that overall July sales – including auto dealers, gas stations and restaurants – were up 0.7% seasonally adjusted from June and up 3.4% unadjusted year-over-year.