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08/17/2022

NRF: Consumers keep shopping despite inflation

Dan Berthiaume
Senior Editor, Technology
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Retail sales increased year-over-year in July.

Retail sales grew in July, supported by moderate improvements in ongoing inflation.

Consumers kept shopping in July. Retail sales in July edged up 0.8% from June 2022 and were up 7.1% unadjusted year-over-year, according to the National Retail Federation, whose calculation excludes automobile dealers, gasoline stations and restaurants.  In June, sales were up 0.6% month-over-month and up 6% year-over-year.

The U.S. Census Bureau said that overall retail sales in July were unchanged from June,  but up 10.3% year over year. That compared with increases of 0.8%  month over month and 8.5% year over year in June. On a three-month moving average, sales were up 9.2%  year over year.

"Retail sales were up considerably compared with a year ago even though consumers are more discerning in this economic environment,” stated NRF chief economist Jack Kleinhenz.  “Consumer spending was an encouraging signal as the economy kicked off the third quarter. Nonetheless, inflation is still disturbingly high even as it eases and is the most important challenge for consumers and retailers. The future path of inflation remains a key factor for the economy and monetary policy as the Federal Reserve works to bring price increases under control."

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, overall retail sales in July 2022 were unchanged from June 2022, but up 10.3% year-over-year. That compared with increases of 0.8% month-over-month and 8.5% year-over-year in June. On a three-month moving average, sales were up 9.2% year-over-year.

[Read More NRF: Economy strong enough to ‘keep a recession at bay’]

July sales were up in all but three retail categories on a yearly basis, led by online sales, building material stores and grocery stores, and increased in all but two categories on a monthly basis. Specifics from key sectors include:

  • Online and other non-store sales were up 2.7% month-over-month seasonally adjusted and up 18.1% unadjusted year-over-year.
  • Building materials and garden supply stores were up 1.5% month-over-month seasonally adjusted and up 6.2% unadjusted year-over-year.
  • Grocery and beverage stores were up 0.2% month-over-month seasonally adjusted and up 7.7% unadjusted year-over-year.
  • Sporting goods stores were up 0.1% month-over-month seasonally adjusted and up 3% unadjusted year-over-year.
  • Health and personal care stores were up 0.4% month-over-month seasonally adjusted and up 1.5% unadjusted year-over-year.
  • Clothing and clothing accessory stores were down 0.6% month-over-month seasonally adjusted but up 0.2% unadjusted year-over-year.
  • General merchandise stores were down 0.7% month-over-month seasonally adjusted and down 0.1% unadjusted year-over-year.
  • Furniture and home furnishings stores were up 0.2% month-over-month seasonally adjusted but down 0.3% unadjusted year-over-year.
  • Electronics and appliance stores were up 0.4% month-over-month seasonally adjusted but down 11.3% unadjusted year-over-year.