Weak June retail sales point to slowing economic growth

national retail federationJune retail sales posted relatively weak growth, increasing only 0.6 percent from May and 0.3 percent year-over-year—an indication that economic growth has slowed.

“Consumers remain wary,” National Retail Federation President and CEO Matthew Shay said. “Even though healthy home prices and stock values are helping to improve confidence and spending, stagnantly-high unemployment, higher taxes and lingering policy uncertainty continue to keep shoppers and economic growth at bay. The recovery is solid and good but its pace remains measured and modest.”

Data released by the U.S. Department of Commerce and Census Bureau showed that total retail and food services sales rose 0.4 percent month-to-month and increased 5.7 percent adjusted year-over-year.

Building material and garden suppliers saw sales fall 2.2 percent, though the segment saw a 6.1 percent sales increase year-over-year. Sales in electronics and appliances fell 0.1 percent month-to-month and 2.3 percent year-over-year.

Sales at clothing and accessories stores increased 0.7 percent month-to-moth and 3.4 percent year-over year, while furniture and home furnishings stores saw sales increase 2.4 percent month-to-month and 1.6 percent year-over-year.

General merchandise stores saw sales rise 0.1 percent month-to-month and 0.7 percent year-over-year, and health and personal care retailers saw sales increase 0.2 percent month-to-month and 0.7 percent year-over-year.

“The consumer economy is improving but growth rates and retail sales will remain reserved for the foreseeable future,” NRF Chief Economist Jack Kleinhenz said. “U.S. households have adjusted their spending to a slow-growth economy. With employment and consumer confidence improving, we expect that the second half will be better than the first.”

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