August 19, 2019
Retail sales were up 0.9% in July, seasonally adjusted from June and up 5.6% unadjusted year-over-year, the National Retail Federation (NRF) reported. The numbers exclude automobile dealers, gasoline stations and restaurants.
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 labor 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 after the new tariffs on some consumer goods were delayed until December 15 to avoid any impact on holiday spending, but many products will still be hit by tariffs taking effect September 1 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, according to the Washington, D.C.-based retail trade association. July’s results build on gains of 0.6% month-over-month and 2.2% year-over-year seen in June.
Key retail sector performance included:
– Online and other non-store sales were up 19.3% year-over-year and up 2.8% month-over-month seasonally adjusted, likely boosted by Amazon’s Prime Day promotion.
– Health and personal care stores were up 6.1% year-over-year, but down 0.2% month-over-month seasonally adjusted.
– Grocery and beverage stores were up 4% year-over-year, and up 0.6% month-over-month seasonally adjusted.
– General merchandise stores were up 2.1% year-over-year, and up 0.6% month-over-month seasonally adjusted.
– Furniture and home furnishings stores were up 2% year-over-year, and up 0.3% month-over-month seasonally adjusted.
– Sporting goods stores were up 2% year-over-year, but down 1.1% month-over-month seasonally adjusted.
– Building materials and garden supply stores were down 0.5% year-over-year, but up 0.2% month-over-month seasonally adjusted.
– Clothing and clothing accessory stores were down 1.6% year-over-year, but up 0.8% month-over-month seasonally adjusted.
Electronics and appliance stores were down 2.3% year-over-year, but up 0.9% month-over-month seasonally adjusted.
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