FINANCE

Retail sales rise in June, beating expectations

BY Marianne Wilson

Consumer spending accelerated in June as retail sales rose in nearly all sectors.

Retail sales were up 0.6% in June seasonally adjusted from May and up 2.3% year-over-year, according to the National Retail Federation. The numbers exclude automobile dealers, gasoline stations and restaurants.

NRF’s numbers are based on data from the U.S. Census Bureau, which said that overall June sales – including auto dealers, gas stations and restaurants – were up 0.4% seasonally adjusted from May and up 3.4% unadjusted year-over-year. Economists polled by Reuters had forecast retail sales edging up 0.1% in June.

“These are impressive results showing that the consumer remains engaged and that consumer spending gave a boost to the economy in the second quarter,” NRF chief economist Jack Kleinhenz said. “The year-over-year growth is particularly significant given that it comes on top of strong gains at this time last year. While the prospect of tariff increases has subsided for the moment, trade uncertainties continue to weigh on the long-term outlook.”

As of June, the three-month moving average was up 3.7% over the same period a year ago, compared with 3.3% in May. June’s results build on gains of 0.4% month-over-month and 2.9% year-over-year seen in May.

Specifics from key retail sectors during June include:

• Online and other non-store sales were up 11.6% year-over-year and up 1.7% month-over-month seasonally adjusted.

• Health and personal care stores were up 3.4% year-over-year and up 0.5% month-over-month seasonally adjusted.

• General merchandise stores were up 2.3% year-over-year and up 0.2% month-over-month seasonally adjusted.

• Grocery and beverage stores were up 2.1% year-over-year and up 0.5% month-over-month seasonally adjusted.

• Clothing and clothing accessory stores were down 1.6% year-over-year but up 0.5% month-over-month seasonally adjusted.

• Furniture and home furnishings stores were down 1.7% year-over-year but up 0.5% month-over-month seasonally adjusted.

• Building materials and garden supply stores were down 4.7% year-over-year but up 0.5% month-over-month seasonally adjusted.

• Sporting goods stores were down 5.3% year-over-year and unchanged month-over-month seasonally adjusted.

• Electronics and appliance stores were down 5.8% year-over-year and down 0.3% month-over-month seasonally adjusted.

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