Retail sales rise 0.7% in July from June as inflation continues to ease
Aug 15, 2023, 5:45 AM
(AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
NEW YORK (AP) — Americans increased their spending last month as inflation continued to ease on eggs, electronics and other items, and the job market remains healthy.
Retail sales rose a better-than-expected 0.7% in July from June. The gain followed a revised 0.3% gain the previous month, the Commerce Department reported Tuesday.
Excluding autos and gas, sales rose a solid 1%.
Sales at a number of different outlets increased. Department stores posted a 0.9% increase, while clothing and accessories stores had a 1% gain. At restaurants, sales rose 1.4%. while online sales rose 1.9%. But furniture and home furnishings stores and electronics stores remained weak, registering declines.
The uptick reflects the economy’s resiliency despite a still challenging economic environment of still high prices and higher interest rates that make borrowing on credit cards and getting a mortgage for a home more expensive. Yet spending has been volatile this year after surging nearly 3% in January. Sales tumbled in February and March before recovering in April and May.
The report comes as inflation has cooled but not enough to meet the Federal Reserve’s target rate.