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US retail sales rose 0.6% in June

US retail sales rose 0.6per cent in June, better than decline seen

US retail sales rose 0.6% in June

Pedestrians pass the Macy's store in the Downtown Crossing shopping area, on Jul 14, 2021, in Boston. (Photo: AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

NEW YORK: Americans spent more last month on clothing, electronics and dining out as the economy opened up and pandemic-related restrictions were lifted.

Retail sales rose a seasonal adjusted 0.6 per cent in June from the month before, the US Commerce Department said on Friday (Jul 16). The increase was a surprise to Wall Street analysts, who had expected sales to fall slightly last month.

Spending has slowed since March, when stimulus checks sent to most Americans caused a surge in shopping. And as Americans get vaccinated, they are spending less on goods and more on hotels, haircuts and other services, which are not reflected in Friday's report.

Last month's increase could be due to higher prices, said Paul Ashworth, chief US economist for consulting firm Capital Economics.

Americans are paying more for food, gas and other goods, with prices jumping last month by the most in 13 years.

The Commerce Department said Friday that sales at bars and restaurants rose 2.3 per cent. Clothing store sales rose by 2.6 per cent, and sales at electronic shops were up 3.3 per cent.

At auto dealerships, sales fell 2 per cent. Automakers aren't making as many vehicles, meaning there are fewer cars to buy, due to a worldwide shortage of chips, which are needed to power in-car screens and other technology. When auto sales are stripped from Friday's number, retail sales are up 1.3 per cent.

The biggest drop in sales were at furniture stores, where they fell 3.6 per cent in June. 

Sales also fell at home improvement stores and places that sell sporting goods.

Source: AP/ga

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