WASHINGTON, Aug 15 — American consumers spent at a brisk pace in July, pushing US retail sales to their biggest increase in seven months, according to official figures released today.
Auto sales helped drive the mid-summer upswing after sagging for much of the year, posting the biggest gain since December.
Long-suffering department stores likewise showed signs of life but cheap gasoline and falling sales of electronics and clothing still weighed on total sales last month.
Total retail sales rose 0.6 per cent, with Americans plunking down US$478.9 billion (RM2 trillion) in July, a solid 4.2 per cent above the same month last year, the Commerce Department reported.
Analysts had been expecting an increase of only 0.3 per cent.
Strong points included the 1.2 per cent jump in sales of autos and building materials.
But gasoline station sales fell 0.4 per cent, although the decline slowed sharply from the 1.5 per cent drop in June.
Excluding car sales, retail sales still rose 0.5 per cent, while leaving out the volatile gasoline segment, sales were up 0.7 per cent.
Gasoline station sales fell 0.4 per cent, although the decline slowed sharply from the 1.5 per cent drop in June.
Meanwhile, department stores had their best month since January, rising a full per centage point over June, perhaps easing some fears that bricks-and-more outlets are facing collapse as consumers switch to internet shopping.
Still, July was even better for non-store retailers like Amazon and Jet that have soared in recent years, and increased 1.3 per cent for the month, also their strongest gain since December. — Reuters
Source: The Malay Mail Online