Retail Sales Rise Amid Back-to-school Deals, Prime Days

Retail sales reversed their downward trend in July as Amazon Prime Day and promotions by other brands prompted increased shopping while wage increases gave consumers more money to spend, the National Retail Federation announced.

“July retail sales show consumers continue to drive the economy through this period of economic pressure with robust spending supported by steady job growth and wage gains,” NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay said. “Retailers remain focused on providing essential items at competitive prices for families and students as we approach the end of an expected record back-to-class shopping season.”

NRF Chief Economist Jack Kleinhenz added, “Retail sales growth has been slowing, but July got a midsummer boost from special deal days offered by multiple retailers. Households had a positive response, and the pace of sales was clearly helped, more than doubling the previous monthly gain. The data shows the ongoing resilience in consumer spending and how it is fueling the overall economy. 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.”

The U.S. Census Bureau said overall retail sales in July were up 0.7 percent from June and up 3.2 percent year over year. That was double the increases seen in June, when sales were up 0.3 percent month over month and up 1.6 percent year over year.

NRF’s calculation of retail sales – which excludes automobile dealers, gasoline stations and restaurants to focus on core retail – showed July was up one percent seasonally adjusted from June and up 3.8 percent unadjusted year over year. In June, sales were up 0.3 percent month over month and up 3.2 percent year over year.

According to NRF, July sales were up in five out of nine retail categories on a yearly basis, led by online sales, health and personal care stores and general merchandise stores, and up in all but two categories monthly.

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