Retail sales in July were up 0.4 percent seasonally adjusted from June and increased 4.9 percent unadjusted year-over-year, according to the National Retail Federation.
According to the NRF, the new figures, which exclude sales related to automobiles, gasoline stations and restaurants, indicate a strong kickoff for the third quarter as consumers are still spending despite fears of a growing trade war.
“Today’s numbers mirror the economy, which is in very good shape,” says Jack Kleinhenz, chief economist, NRF. “Consumer fundamentals remain healthy and continue to provide wherewithal for consumers to drive domestic economic growth.”
“Consumer spending is the backbone of the current economic expansion but the fly in the ointment is uncertainty regarding tariffs,” Kleinhenz added. “If they escalate, they will no doubt weigh on confidence and household spending.”
The three-month moving average increased 5 percent over the same period one year ago, which supports NRF’s revised forecast, which now states that 2018 retail sales are expected to increase 4.5 percent over 2017. Earlier in the year, growth was predicted to range between 3.8 to 4.4 percent.
NRF’s numbers are based on U.S. Census Bureau data, which indicate that overall July sales, including automobiles, gasoline and restaurants, were up 0.5 percent seasonally adjusted from June and increased 6.4 percent year-over-year.
Retail specifics from July include:
- Online and other non-store sales (up 11.3 percent year-over-year; up 0.8 percent month-over-month seasonally adjusted)
- Health and personal care stores (up 6.2 percent year-over-year; down 0.4 percent month-over-month seasonally adjusted)
- Building materials and garden supply stores (up 5.8 percent year-over-year; unchanged month-over-month seasonally adjusted)
- Clothing and clothing accessory stores (up 5.4 percent year-over-year; up 1.3 percent month-over-month seasonally adjusted)
- Electronics and appliance stores (up 4.2 percent year-over-year; up 0.1 percent month-over-month seasonally adjusted)
- Furniture and home furnishings stores (up 3.9 percent year-over-year; down 0.5 percent month-over-month seasonally adjusted)
- Grocery and beverage stores (up 3.6 percent year-over-year; up 0.6 percent month-over-month seasonally adjusted)
- General merchandise stores (up 1.8 percent year-over-year; up 0.7 percent month-over-month seasonally adjusted)
- Sporting goods stores (down 5.7 percent year-over-year; down 1.7 percent month-over-month seasonally adjusted)