Broad-based advance in US retail sales shows solid spending

(iStock)
(iStock)

Washington - US retail sales advanced in July by the most this year, with widespread gains from department stores to building materials outlets that signal a robust start to consumer spending in the third quarter, according to Commerce Department figures released on Tuesday.

Highlights of retail sales (July)

• Overall sales climbed 0.6% (est. 0.3% gain) after 0.3% advance in prior month (revised from 0.2% decline).

• Sales excluding autos and gasoline rose 0.5% after a 0.3% rise.

• Retail-control group sales, which are used to calculate GDP and exclude the categories of food services, auto dealers, building materials stores and gasoline stations, increased 0.6% following a 0.1% gain 10 of 13 major retail categories showed gains.

Key takeaways

Americans spent more freely in July and upward revisions to sales in the prior two months show strong hiring, limited inflation and low borrowing costs are improving purchasing power. The acceleration bodes well for consumption, which accounts for about 70% of the economy.

Auto dealerships and non-store retailers saw the biggest sales increases this year. Internet-driven purchases probably received a boost from the spike in online shopping tied to Amazon.com’s Prime Day event.

Sales strengthened in other categories as well. Receipts at department stores were up by the most in six months, and purchases increased the most since February at sporting goods retailers and building-supply outlets.

Gasoline stations, electronics merchants and clothing chains were the only categories to show sales declines in July. Commerce Department figures aren’t adjusted for prices, so cheaper fuel costs depress results. The retail sales data capture just under half of all household purchases.

Other details

• Automobile dealers’ sales rose 1.2% after a 0.9% gain the previous month.

• Retail sales excluding autos rose 0.5% after 0.1% increase Receipts at gasoline stations fell 0.4%.

• Sales increased 1.2% at building-supply retailers, 1% at department stores and 1.3% at Internet merchants.

SUBSCRIBE FOR FREE UPDATE: Get Fin24's top morning business news and opinions in your inbox.

Read Fin24's top stories trending on Twitter:


ZAR/USD
17.03
(-0.47)
ZAR/GBP
21.22
(-0.28)
ZAR/EUR
19.14
(-0.29)
ZAR/AUD
11.82
(-0.62)
ZAR/JPY
0.16
(-0.28)
Gold
1775.38
(+0.02)
Silver
18.02
(+0.62)
Platinum
809.16
(+0.35)
Brent Crude
42.92
(+2.64)
Palladium
1892.00
(+0.29)
All Share
54611.46
(-0.01)
Top 40
50281.73
(-0.06)
Financial 15
10226.04
(+0.11)
Industrial 25
76584.94
(+0.56)
Resource 10
50248.99
(-1.02)
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes morningstar logo
Company Snapshot
Voting Booth
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Results
I'm not really directly affected
18% - 1568 votes
I am taking a hit, but should be able to recover in the next year
23% - 2044 votes
My finances have been devastated
34% - 3062 votes
It's still too early to know what the full effect will be
25% - 2221 votes
Vote