Retail sales jump in July amid Prime Day and other special ‘deal days’

Marianne Wilson
Online sales
Online sales rose nearly 2% in July.

After slowing retail growth, sales got a midsummer boost amid multiple promotions by retailers, including Amazon’s Prime Day mega-event.

Retail sales in July rose 1% from June, and were up 3.2% year-over-year, according to the National Retail Federation, whose calculation excludes automobile dealers, gasoline stations and restaurants to focus on core retail.  Online sales jumped 1.9% in July, boosted by Amazon’s Prime Day, which generated $12.7 billion in total online sales.

   Overall retail sales in July were up 0.7% from June — the biggest gain in six months — and up 3.2% year over year, reported the U.S. Census Bureau.  That was double the increases seen in June, when sales were up 0.3% month over month and up 1.6% year over year. 

The pace of sales was clearly helped, more than doubling the previous monthly gain, by consumers’ positive response to the special “deal days” offered by multiple retailers in July, said NRF chief economist Jack Kleinhenz.

“The data shows the ongoing resilience in consumer spending and how it is fueling the overall economy,” he added. “It’s worth noting that the strong year-over-year gain came partly because sales accelerated this July but were decelerating at the same time last year.”

 Amid a summer boom of European travel and concert attendance, U.S. consumers continue to spend on goods, noted  David Silverman, senior director, Fitch Ratings, in commentary on July retail sales.
“With fewer recessionary signs on the horizon, Fitch expects modest retail volume growth can continue for the time being, albeit with continued volatility by category,” he said.

Retail sales in July rose in in all but two categories — electronics/appliance stores and furniture/home furnishings stores —  on a monthly basis, with clothing, general merchandise and sporting goods among the retailers seeing boosts in spending  

July sales were up in five out of nine retail categories on a yearly basis, led by online sales, and health and personal care stores.

Specifics from key sectors for July are below.  

•Online and other non-store sales were up 1.9% month over month and up 11.8% year over year.

•Health and personal care stores were up 0.7% month over month  and up 8.3% year over year.

•General merchandise stores were up 0.8% month over month and up 1.6% year over year.

•Grocery and beverage stores were up 0.8% month over month adjusted and up 1.5% year over year.

•Clothing and clothing accessory stores were up 1% month over month and up 0.9% year over year.

•Sporting goods stores were up 1.5% month over month but down 0.5% year over year.

•Building materials and garden supply stores were up 0.7% month over month but down 3.5% year over year.

•Electronics and appliance stores were down 1.3% month over month and down 3.5% year over year.

•Furniture and home furnishings stores were down 1.8% month over month and down 7.6% year over year.


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