Retail industry sales are up again, marking the 12th consecutive month of increases.
According to data from the National Retail Federation, retail industry sales (which exclude automobiles, gas stations, and restaurants) in June increased 0.3 percent seasonally adjusted from May and 5.5 percent unadjusted year-over-year.
June retail sales (which include non-general merchandise categories such as autos, gasoline stations and restaurants) also rose. Those figures, released last week by the US commerce Department, increased 0.1 percent seasonally adjusted month-to-month and 8.4 percent unadjusted year-over-year.
The National Retail Federation says last month's warm weather, lower gas prices and strong Father's Day promotions put consumers in a spending mood. In particular:
Sales of summer apparel and garden equipment and supplies lead the charge. Clothing and clothing accessories stores' sales increased 0.7 percent seasonally adjusted over May and a solid 7.6 percent unadjusted year-over-year. Sales at building material and garden equipment stores increased 1.3 percent seasonally adjusted month-to-month and 8.5 percent unadjusted over last year.
Sales of home furnishings, electronics and appliance decreased. Sales at electronic and appliance stores decreased 0.2 percent seasonally adjusted month-to-month and 2.3 percent unadjusted from last year. Home furnishings stores sales decreased 0.8 percent seasonally adjusted over May and increased 0.2 percent unadjusted year-over-year.
Health and personal care stores sales were mixed. Sales in this sector decreased 0.2 percent seasonally adjusted over May but increased 3.9 percent unadjusted year-over-year.
While the overall increase in retail sales surpassed many analysts' expectations, the National Retail Federation is quick to point out that sustained growth in the retail sector depends on a strong labor market.
"With the summer season well underway, retailers are hoping this momentum continues through the back to school season," NRF Chief Economist Jack Kleinhenz said. "Knowing that shoppers remain concerned about the economy, companies have already begun offering aggressive promotions to entice shoppers."