Second-quarter retail sales show slower economic growth

Consumer spending and retail sales ended the second quarter on a soft note, indicating that economic growth is weaker than expected.

According to the National Retail Federation, a retail trade association, June sales increased 0.6 percent from May and 3 percent from the previous year.

“Consumers remain wary,” NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay. “Even though healthy home prices and stock values are helping to improve confidence and spending, stagnantly high unemployment, higher taxes and lingering policy uncertainty continue to keep shoppers and economic growth at bay. The recovery is solid and good, but its pace remains measured and modest.”

June retail sales, released Monday by the U.S. Department of Commerce and U.S. Census Bureau, showed that total retail and food services sales (which include non-general merchandise categories such as automobiles, gasoline stations, and restaurants) increased 0.4 percent seasonally adjusted month-to-month and increased 5.7 percent adjusted year-over-year.

“The consumer economy is improving but growth rates and retail sales will remain reserved for the foreseeable future,” NRF Chief Economist Jack Kleinhenz said. “U.S. households have adjusted their spending to a slow-growth economy. With employment and consumer confidence improving, we expect that the second half will be better than the first.”

Other findings from the June retail sales report include:

•  Building material and garden equipment and supplies dealers stores’ sales decreased 2.2 percent seasonally-adjusted, yet increased 6.1 percent unadjusted year-over-year.

•  Clothing and clothing accessories stores’ sales increased 0.7 percent seasonally-adjusted month-to-month and 3.4 percent unadjusted year-over-year.

•  Electronics and appliance stores’ sales decreased 0.1 percent seasonally-adjusted month-to-month and decreased 2.3 percent unadjusted year-over-year.

•    Furniture and home furnishing stores’ sales increased 2.4 seasonally-adjusted month-to-month and increased 1.6 percent unadjusted year-over-year.

•    General merchandise stores’ sales increased 0.1 percent seasonally-adjusted month-to-month and increased 0.7 percent unadjusted year-over-year.

•    Health and personal care stores’ sales increased 0.2 percent seasonally-adjusted month-to-month and increased 0.7 percent unadjusted year-over-year.

•    Nonstore retailers’ sales increased 2.1 percent seasonally-adjusted month-to-month and increased 11.5 percent unadjusted year-over-year.

•    Sporting goods, hobby, book and music stores’ sales increased .7 percent seasonally-adjusted month-to-month and increased .2 percent unadjusted year-over-year.