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    Retailers See July Sales Bump

    Up 0.8 percent, consumers confident but cautious: NRF

    Retail sales edged higher during the month of July breaking three consecutive months of declining growth. The increase beats economists’ drearier forecasts and reveals a renewed confidence in consumer spending.

    According to the National Retail Federation (NRF), summers sales – excluding automobiles, gas stations and restaurants - increased 0.8 percent seasonally adjusted from June and 1.2 percent unadjusted year-over-year. According to the U.S. Department of Commerce, total retail and food service sales – which include non-general merchandise categories such as automobiles, gas stations and restaurants – increased 0.8 percent seasonally adjusted month-to-month and 4.1 percent adjusted year-over-year.

    “Halfway through the back-to-school season retailers are seeing positive signs that consumers are spending,” said Matthew Shay, president and CEO of the Washington, D.C.-based NRF. “However, sustained retail growth hinges on Congress’ and the administration’s ability to make smart decisions about the economy and Americans’ confidence in our long-term recovery.”

    Additional findings from NRF’s sales report include:

    • Clothing and clothing accessories stores’ sales increased 0.8 percent seasonally adjusted month-to-month and 2.6 percent unadjusted year-over-year.
    • Electronics and appliance stores’ sales increased 0.9 percent seasonally adjusted month-to-month yet decreased 1.1 percent unadjusted year-over-year.
    • Furniture and home furnishing stores’ sales increased 1.1 percent seasonally adjusted month-to-month and 9 percent unadjusted year-over-year.
    • General merchandise stores’ sales increased 0.7 percent seasonally adjusted month-to-month yet decreased 1.4 percent unadjusted year-over-year.
    • Health and personal care stores’ sales increased 1.1 percent seasonally adjusted month-to-month and 0.7 percent unadjusted year-over-year.
    • Sporting goods, hobby, book and music stores’ sales increased 1.6 percent seasonally adjusted month-to-month and 8 percent unadjusted year-over-year.

    “Despite high unemployment and political and fiscal uncertainty, consumers are spending again, albeit cautiously,” said NRF chief economist Jack Kleinhenz. “Retail sales continue to remain resilient in the face of bleak international news, with retailers on track with sustained sales growth year-over-year and year-to-date. Retail sales will continue to see modest growth in the fall and winter.”
     

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