July furniture store sales jump 5

Total retail sales rose 0.6 percent with Americans plunking down $478.9 billion in July a solid 4.2 percent above the same month last year the Commerce Department reported

American consumers spent at a brisk pace in July, pushing United States retail sales to their biggest increase in seven months, according to preliminary figures released on Tuesday (Aug 15).

Retail sales have been very underwhelming this year which has contributed to the view that the economy isn't ready for another rate hike this year.

The government had previously reported a 0.1% drop in core retail sales in June and a 0.2% decline in overall sales.

Total retail sales rose 0.6 per cent compared to June, with Americans plunking down US$478.9 billion in July, the Commerce Department reported. "We have yet to see the full effect of back-to-school spending, but pickup in spending was evident both online and in general merchandise, which includes bricks-and-mortar department stores".

"This means that not only is the second quarter personal consumption expenditures probably going to be revised higher from an already strong 2.8%, but that the expectations for PCE during the third quarter are also going to be marked up going forward", he said.




That helped boost sales of so-called nonstore retailers by 1.3% last month, the largest increase since December.

The strong auto sales came despite industry reports which showed vehicle and truck sales fell six per cent from July 2016.

"With consumer confidence at firm levels, employment continuing to rise and wages showing some evidence of picking up we remain optimistic on the prospects for consumer spending", said James Knightley chief worldwide economist at ING. Industry experts noted that online sales likely received a lift from Amazon.com's Prime Day promotion. Commerce Department figures aren't adjusted for prices, so cheaper fuel costs depress results.

Still, July was even better for the non-store retailers like Amazon and Jet that have soared in recent years, and increased 1.3 per cent compared to June, also their strongest gain since December. Sales at clothing stores fell 0.2 per cent after rising 0.7 per cent in June.

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