Retail Sales Continued to Tick Down in June Marking Three Consecutive Months of Decline
WASHINGTON, July 16, 2012 – Retail sales continued to stall in the month of June as consumers held off on discretionary and non-discretionary spending – marking three consecutive months of retail sales decreases – implying that persistently-high domestic unemployment, stagnant job growth, and international economic unease have taken a toll on American consumers this spring.
According to the National Retail Federation, the world’s largest retail trade association, June retail sales (excluding automobile, gas stations and restaurants) decreased 0.4 percent seasonally adjusted from May but increased 1.7 percent unadjusted year-over-year. This year-over-year increase marks 24 consecutive months of sustained retail sales growth.
“There is no doubt consumers struggled with discretionary spending last month, but many families may be looking at this as a temporary break as they save up for back-to-school shopping in July and August,” NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay said. “While the retail industry remains confident in an incremental recovery, today’s statistics should concern every policymaker in Washington, and compel them to revisit burdensome regulations and job-killing tax increases set to take effect early next year.”
June retail sales, released today by the U.S. Department of Commerce, showed total retail and food services sales (which include non-general merchandise categories such as automobiles, gasoline stations, and restaurants) decreased 0.5 percent seasonally adjusted month-to-month but increased 3.8 percent unadjusted year-over-year.
“Weak economic numbers over the past few weeks have increased anxiety about the future direction of the economy,” NRF Chief Economist Jack Kleinhenz said. “Today’s data is discouraging but not demoralizing. If you look at the first half of the year overall, retail sales actually increased 4.6 percent year-over-year, indicating that the economy is improving but maybe not quick enough to impact consumer spending and job growth.”
• Clothing and clothing accessories stores' sales increased 0.2 percent seasonally-adjusted month-to-month and increased 5.0 percent unadjusted year-over-year.
• Electronics and appliance stores’ sales decreased 0.8 percent seasonally-adjusted month-to-month and similarly decreased 0.8 percent unadjusted year-over-year.
• Furniture and home furnishing stores’ sales decreased 0.8 percent seasonally-adjusted month-to-month yet increased 8.2 percent unadjusted year-over-year.
• General merchandise stores’ sales decreased 0.2 percent seasonally-adjusted month-to-month and remained flat unadjusted year-over-year.
• Sporting goods, hobby, book and music stores’ sales decreased 1.6 percent seasonally-adjusted month-to-month yet increased 7.8 percent unadjusted year-over-year.
As the world’s largest retail trade association and the voice of retail worldwide, NRF represents retailers of all types and sizes, including chain restaurants and industry partners, from the United States and more than 45 countries abroad. Retailers operate more than 3.6 million U.S. establishments that support one in four U.S. jobs – 42 million working Americans. Contributing $2.5 trillion to annual GDP, retail is a daily barometer for the nation’s economy. NRF’s Retail Means Jobs campaign emphasizes the economic importance of retail and encourages policymakers to support a Jobs, Innovation and Consumer Value Agenda aimed at boosting economic growth and job creation. www.nrf.com