July was a mixed bag for retailers, with sales gains in many back-to-school categories like clothing and sporting goods but declines in home-based categories, including building materials and furniture, according to the National Retail Federation.
July retail sales (excluding automobiles, gas stations and restaurants) increased 0.3 percent seasonally adjusted from June and increased 5 percent unadjusted year-over-year.
“Spending has stalled and the economy is stuck in neutral,” says Jack Kleinhenz, chief economist, NRF. “Even with modest employment gains and steady consumer confidence, Americans remain in a cautiously-positive spending pattern. While clothing and sporting goods retailers saw modest gains with early back-to-school shopping, home-based retailers saw marked decreases, possibly indicating the end of the year-long housing boom.”
July retail sales released today by the U.S. Census Bureau showed that total retail and food services sales (which include non-general merchandise categories such as automobiles, gasoline stations and restaurants) increased 0.2 percent seasonally adjusted month-to-month and increased 5.4 percent adjusted year-over-year.
Categories that saw increases last month included clothing and clothing accessories (0.9 percent from June), health and personal care (0.7 percent) and sporting goods, hobby, books and music (1 percent). Declines were reported in building materials and garden equipment (0.4 percent from June), electronics and appliances (0.1 percent) and furniture and home furnishings (1.4 percent).