Retail sales solid in June

Marianne Wilson

Retail sales edged up in most categories in June and were up across the board on a yearly basis.

That’s according to the National Retail Federation, which reported that June retail sales were up 0.8% from May and 12.1% year-over-year. (NRF’s calculation of retail sales which excludes automobile dealers, gasoline stations and restaurants to focus on core retail.) 

The June reading compared with a month-over-month decline of 1.9% and a year-over-year increase of 16.5%  in May. 

Despite occasional month-over-month declines, sales have grown year-over-year every month since June 2020, according to U.S. Census data. Sales saw a boost from the annual Amazon Prime Day promotion, which was also joined by many other major retailers. 

“The economy and consumption are particularly sensitive to government policy, and the boost we saw from government support earlier in the year is continuing to show benefits,” stated NRF chief economist Jack Kleinhenz. “Reopening of both stores and the overall economy has progressed, and even higher prices seen in some retail categories reflecting the push-and-pull of supply chain challenges haven’t proven to be a deterrent to spending.  As more people get vaccinated and get out, some of the growth will shift to services rather than retail but there’s enough momentum to support both.”

For the first six months of the year, sales were up 16.4%  compared to the year-ago period.  According to NRF’s  revised forecast that 2021, retail sales are expected to grow between 10.5% and 13.5% over 2020. 

[Read More: Retail sales to exceed $4.44 trillion in 2021]

Sales in two-third of retail categories rose on a monthly in June, led by increases at clothing and electronics stores. Specifics from key retail sectors are below.
•    Clothing and clothing accessory stores were up 2.6% month-over-month seasonally adjusted and up 49.4% unadjusted year-over-year. 
•    Electronics and appliance stores were up 3.3% month-over-month seasonally adjusted and up 36.5% unadjusted year-over-year.
•    Furniture and home furnishings stores were down 3.6% month-over-month seasonally adjusted but up 17.5% unadjusted year-over-year.
•    Health and personal care stores were up 1.6% month-over-month seasonally adjusted and up 13.5% unadjusted year-over-year.
•    Online and other non-store sales were up 1.2% month-over-month seasonally adjusted and up 12% unadjusted year-over-year.
•    Sporting goods stores were down 1.7% month-over-month seasonally adjusted but up 11% unadjusted year-over-year.
•    General merchandise stores were up 1.9% month-over-month seasonally adjusted and up 10.7% unadjusted year-over-year.
•    Building materials and garden supply stores were down 1.6% month-over-month seasonally adjusted but up 7% unadjusted year-over-year.
•    Grocery and beverage stores were up 0.6% month-over-month seasonally adjusted and up 3.7% unadjusted year-over-year.

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