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NRF: Retail sales made turnaround in July

Shoppers more optimistic

Washington- Retail sales in July edged higher, ending three consecutive months of declining growth and demonstrating that consumers are gaining some semblance of confidence this summer, noted the National Retail Federation.

July retail sales, excluding automobile, gas stations and restaurants, increased 0.8% seasonally adjusted from June and 1.2% unadjusted year-over-year.

Sales at furniture and home furnishing stores' sales increased 1.1% seasonally-adjusted month-to-month and 9.0% unadjusted year-over-year;

"Halfway through the back-to-school season retailers are seeing positive signs that consumers are spending," said Matthew Shay, NRF president and ceo. "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."

July retail sales released today by the U.S. Department of Commerce showed total retail and food services sales - which include non-general merchandise categories such as automobiles, gasoline stations, and restaurants - increased 0.8% seasonally adjusted month-to-month and 4.1% adjusted year-over-year. If it were unadjusted, it would be 3.4%.

"Despite high unemployment, and political and fiscal uncertainty, consumers are spending again, albeit cautiously," said Jack Kleinhenz, NRF chief economist. "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."

Other findings from the July retail sales report include:

  • General merchandise stores' sales increased 0.7% seasonally-adjusted month-to-month yet decreased 1.4% unadjusted year-over-year;
  • Clothing and clothing accessories stores' sales increased 0.8% seasonally-adjusted month-to-month and 2.6% unadjusted year-over-year;
  • Electronics and appliance stores' sales increased 0.9% seasonally-adjusted month-to-month yet decreased 1.1% unadjusted year-over-year;
  • Health and personal care stores' sales increased 1.1% seasonally-adjusted month-to-month and 0.7% unadjusted year-over-year;
  • Sporting goods, hobby, book and music stores' sales increased 1.6% seasonally-adjusted month-to-month and 8.0% unadjusted year-over-year.

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