Market Overview

July Retail Sales Increase 4.9 Percent Over 2017

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Results Support NRF Revised Forecast of 4.5 Percent for the Year

July retail sales were up 0.4 percent seasonally adjusted from June and
increased 4.9 percent unadjusted year-over-year, giving the industry a
solid kickoff for the third quarter as consumers continued to spend
despite concerns about the growing trade war, the National Retail
Federation said today. The numbers exclude automobiles, gasoline
stations and restaurants.

"Today's numbers mirror the economy, which is in very good shape," NRF
Chief Economist Jack Kleinhenz said, citing consumer confidence, a
strengthening labor market and more after-tax dollars in household
wallets thanks to tax reform. "Consumer fundamentals remain healthy and
continue to provide wherewithal for consumers to drive domestic economic
growth."

"Consumer spending is the backbone of the current economic expansion but
the fly in the ointment is uncertainty regarding tariffs," Kleinhenz
said. "If they escalate, they will no doubt weigh on confidence and
household spending."

The three-month moving average was up 5 percent over the same period a
year ago. The numbers come two days after NRF revised its annual
forecast, saying 2018 retail sales are now expected to grow at
least 4.5 percent
over 2017 rather than the 3.8 percent to 4.4
percent predicted earlier this year.

The July results build on improvement seen in June, which was down 0.1
percent monthly from May but up 3.9 percent year-over-year.

NRF's numbers are based on data from the U.S. Census Bureau, which said
overall July sales – including automobiles, gasoline and restaurants –
were up 0.5 percent seasonally adjusted from June and up 6.4 percent
year-over-year.

Specifics from key retail sectors during July include:

  • Online and other non-store sales were up 11.3 percent year-over-year
    and up 0.8 percent month-over-month seasonally adjusted.
  • Health and personal care stores were up 6.2 percent year-over-year but
    down 0.4 percent month-over-month seasonally adjusted.
  • Building materials and garden supply stores were up 5.8 percent
    year-over-year and unchanged month-over-month seasonally adjusted.
  • Clothing and clothing accessory stores were up 5.4 percent
    year-over-year and up 1.3 percent month-over-month seasonally adjusted.
  • Electronics and appliance stores were up 4.2 percent year-over-year
    and up 0.1 percent month-over-month seasonally adjusted.
  • Furniture and home furnishings stores were up 3.9 percent
    year-over-year but down 0.5 percent month-over-month seasonally
    adjusted.
  • Grocery and beverage stores were up 3.6 percent year-over-year and up
    0.6 percent month-over-month seasonally adjusted.
  • General merchandise stores were up 1.8 percent year-over-year and up
    0.7 percent month-over-month seasonally adjusted.
  • Sporting goods stores were down 5.7 percent year-over-year and down
    1.7 percent month-over-month seasonally adjusted.

About NRF

The National Retail Federation is the world's largest retail trade
association. Based in Washington, D.C., NRF represents discount and
department stores, home goods and specialty stores, Main Street
merchants, grocers, wholesalers, chain restaurants and internet
retailers from the United States and more than 45 countries. Retail is
the nation's largest private-sector employer, supporting one in four
U.S. jobs — 42 million working Americans. Contributing $2.6 trillion to
annual GDP, retail is a daily barometer for the nation's economy.

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