United States retail sales post biggest increase in seven months
17 August, 2017, 12:34 | Author: Celia Hoffman
Analysts, who had been expecting an increase of only 0.3 per cent in July, said the result was a strong start to growth in the third quarter.
Consumer spending is by far the largest source of USA economic activity.
July's reading showed the largest gain in the retail sales reading since December 2016 and followed June's upwardly revised 0.3 percent gain.
And sales in June were revised up to show a 0.3 per cent increase, after the initially-reported 0.2 per cent decline.
"The inherent volatility in the monthly retail sales reports notwithstanding, consumers will remain the key driver of growth in the US economy", Richard Moody, chief economist of Regions Financial, told MarketWatch.
Versus a year ago, total retail sales were ahead by 4.2%.
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"American shoppers flocked to the malls and even department stores in July, suggesting consumers are well-positioned to propel the economy forward in the second half of the year", said Sal Guatieri, a senior economist at BMO Capital Markets in Toronto. Sales were up 0.4% from the month before - based on a June sales estimate that was revised up to $9.64 billion.
Non-store retailers, which includes online shopping, reported sales increased 1.3% in July from the month before, while recording a whopping 11.5% compared to July 2016.
The dollar index, a measure of the greenback against a basket of six other currencies, rose 0.7% to a three-week high of 94.03. Contributing $2.6 trillion to annual GDP, retail is a daily barometer for the nation's economy.
Excluding sales of autos and parts, sales rose by 0.5% on the month to hit $378.8bn (consensus: 0.4%).
Health and personal care stores increased 0.4 percent over June and increased 1.6 percent unadjusted year-over-year. There were also strong gains in sales at furniture stores, hardware stores and restaurants.
Electronics and appliances stores decreased 0.5 percent seasonally adjusted from June and decreased 1.4 percent unadjusted year-over-year.
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