News Feature | August 21, 2017

July Retail Sales Rebound With 3.5 Percent Growth Over 2016

Christine Kern

By Christine Kern, contributing writer

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Sales were three times higher than June growth.

July retail sales rose 0.6 percent from the previous month on a seasonally adjusted basis, triple the revised 0.2 percent growth in June, according to the latest figures from the National Retail Federation. Sales rose by 3.5 percent year-over-year, a continuation of June’s growth and consistent with long-term trends, the NRF said. (The numbers exclude automobiles, gasoline stations and restaurants.)

“Consumer spending remains solid as retail sales saw healthy improvements in July and revised June numbers were also positive,” NRF Chief Economist Jack Kleinhenz said. “We have yet to see the full effect of back-to-school spending, but pickup in spending was evident both online and in general merchandise, which includes bricks-and-mortar department stores. Rising home values are encouraging home-improvement spending and home-related retail purchases.”

Meanwhile, Kleinhenz stated, “Soft or declining prices for retail goods continue to hold down the dollar amount of sales reported even though unit volume was up.”

The report also found:

  • Online and other non-store sales rose 1.3 percent seasonally adjusted over June and 11.4 percent unadjusted year-over-year
  • Clothing and accessories sales fell 0.2 percent seasonally adjusted from June but rose 0.1 percent unadjusted year-over-year.
  • General merchandise sales increased 0.1 percent seasonally adjusted over June and 1.4 percent unadjusted year-over-year.
  • Electronics and appliances sales fell 0.5 percent seasonally adjusted from June and 1.4 percent unadjusted year-over-year.
  • Furniture and home furnishings sales rose 0.4 percent seasonally adjusted over June and 4.3 percent unadjusted year-over-year.
  • Building materials and supplies stores saw 1.2 percent increase over June and a 8.5 percent rise unadjusted percent year-over-year.
  • Health and personal care stores saw 0.4 percent rise over June and a 1.6 percent rise unadjusted year-over-year.

The Commerce Department said retail sales jumped 0.6 percent last month, the largest gain since December 2016 and followed June's upwardly revised 0.3 percent rise, according to CNBC. Sales at online retailers jumped 1.3 percent in July, the largest gain since December 2016, likely buoyed by Amazon's Prime Day promotion. Receipts at restaurants and bars increased 0.3 percent and sales at sporting goods and hobby stores also rose 0.3 percent.