E-Commerce Leads US Retail Sales Gain in June

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Retail sales rebounded in June as U.S. consumers stepped up their spending—selectively.

According to a Commerce Department report released Friday, total retail trade sales were up 0.7% from May 2016 and up 2.4% from last year. But sales at clothing and clothing accessories stores decreased 0.9% year-over-year to $21.1 billion, also signaling a 1 percent drop from May.

Meanwhile, general merchandise stores reported a 0.2% decline in sales compared to June 2015 to $56.1 billion, but this was a 0.4% improvement versus the prior month. Within that category, department store sales were $13.2 billion—down 3.7% year-over-year but up 0.7% from May.

Nonstore retailers, which include e-commerce sellers, were the real success story last month. Bringing in $47.9 billion, sales were up 14.2% year-over-year and 1.1% from May.

Swedish fast-fashion chain H&M also released June 2016 results on Friday, reporting that sales (including VAT) rose 8 percent in local currencies compared to the same month in 2015. However, the retailer did not specify how much of that increase was down to sales at stores open for more than one year, and it’s worth noting that H&M had 453 more locations on June 30 than it did last year.

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