Retail sales were sluggish in June, causing concern among economists who were hoping that the improving job market and uptick in consumer confidence would help stimulate consumer spending. Within key apparel channels, department stores suffered a drop, while specialty store sales increased.
Total retail sales rose by 1.4% compared to last June, to $442 billion, according to data released Tuesday by the U.S. Department of Commerce. On a 12-month smoothed basis, sales were up 1.8%, helped by a still-robust automobile sector, where sales increased by over 6 percent. Excluding autos, retail sales grew by a paltry 0.7%.
Sales at restaurants enjoyed the biggest increase, up 6.5% on a 12-month smoothed basis.
Sales at department, chain and discount stores dropped by 1.8% on a smoothed basis, a steeper decline than May’s 1 percent drop.
Apparel specialty stores enjoyed an increase, rising by 1.2%, though this was a much smaller gain than May’s 4.8% increase. Declining prices are no doubt playing a big role here, given the increasingly promotional environment and rising influence of fast fashion players.
For the combined department and specialty sector, a barometer of overall apparel sales, sales were flat in the month.
For the first half of 2015, apparel specialty stores enjoyed a 2.5% increase in sales, while department and discount stores saw sales fall by 1.8%.
Inventory levels for apparel and department stores started to fall, however, no doubt helped by the investment in omnichannel systems that are giving retailers better visibility and control over stock. In May, the most recent month for which inventory data are available, the inventory to sales ratio for department stores declined from 2.13 to 2.06, and edged down from 2.48 to 2.44 for apparel specialty stores.
At the upcoming edition of Sourcing at MAGIC, attendees will be able to witness the factory of the future right on the show floor.Read more
RIS is recognizing several retail software vendors for their ability to transform industry member’s businesses with technology.Read more
The wool market has battled dwindling demand from the infiltration of high-tech fabrics in the outerwear market for many years and lost supply in its home market of Australia, where growers have increasingly opted for more profitable use of their land.Read more
The U.S. Commerce Department issued affirmative final determinations in the countervailing duty investigations of fine denier polyester staple fiber from the China and India.Read more
The cost of enjoying free shipping on Amazon is going up.Read more
GFG named two new co-CEOs, Walmart International named Judith McKenna as its new CEO and a Louis Vuitton veteran announced his exit.Read more
Portugese mill Tintex is switching from the use of conventional cotton and has launched a new fabric range called Naturally Advanced Cotton by Tintex using four different premium and responsibly grown cottons.Read more