June retail sales see solid annual gains, reports Commerce and NRF

United States June retail sales were mixed, according to data issued today by the United States Department of Commerce and the National Retail Federation (NRF).Commerce reported that June retail sales–at £621.3 billion–were down 0.6% compared to May’s revised £617.9 billion (from an original reading of £620.2 billion) and up 18% compared to June 2020. And total retail sales from April through May headed up 31.5% compared to the same period a year ago.Looking at specific verticals, Commerce reported that retail trade sales rose 0.3% sequentially and were up 15.6% annually, with clothing and clothing accessories seeing a 47.1% annual gain. Food services and drinking places increased 40.2% annually.The NRF reported that its calculation of retail sales, which does not include automobile dealers, gasoline stations, and restaurants, pointed to June being up 0.8% on a seasonally-adjusted basis compared to May and were up 12.1% on an unadjusted basis annually.

May retail sales reported by NRF were down 1.9% from May to June and were up 16.5% annually.NRF officials observed how June sales were boosted by the annual Amazon Prime Day promotion, and promotions from other retailers, too. It added that record-high temperatures in some parts of the U.S., coupled with tropical storms in other parts, may have impacted sales and methodology used by the Commerce Department’s Census Bureau to adjust results for seasonal variations.On a year-to-date basis through June, NRF reported retail sales grew 16.4% annually. For the entire calendar year, NRF said that in its revised forecast, retail sales are expected to be up between 10.5%-to-13.5%, to between £4.44 trillion and £4.56 trillion.“We’re continuing to see an impressive recovery,” NRF Chief Economist Jack Kleinhenz said in a statement. “The economy and consumption are particularly sensitive to government policy, and the boost we saw from government support earlier in the year is continuing to show benefits.

Reopening of both stores and the overall economy has progressed, and even higher prices seen in some retail categories reflecting the push-and-pull of supply chain challenges haven’t proven to be a deterrent to spending.

As more people get vaccinated and get out, some of the growth will shift to services rather than retail but there’s enough momentum to support both.”