US Retail Sales Weak in July as Slowdown Continues in Clothing, Department Stores

empty mall pexels

American consumers were still slow to spend in July and retail sales were relatively unchanged from June as a result.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau’s advance monthly report, released Friday, total retail sales were $457.7 billion last month—down slightly from June’s $457.9 billion, which was a 0.7% increase over May—and up by only 1.9% from July 2015.

Clothing and accessories sales slowed, down 0.5% from June’s $21.26 billion to $21.1 billion—a 1.2% decrease year-over-year. Sales at sporting goods stores fell 2.2% from $8 billion in June to $7.8 billion in July, while general merchandise sales—which includes department stores—were down 0.1% on a monthly basis and 1.1% compared with July 2015 to $55.85 billion. Department store sales alone fell 0.5% from June and were down 4 percent from last July.

E-commerce continued to trend up last month. Following June’s 1.1% monthly gain, non-store retail sales (online) were up 1.3% from the previous month—and a massive 14.1% from July 2015—to reach $47.7 billion.

Late last month, the National Retail Federation raised its outlook for 2016 and said retail sales for the year would grow 3.4%. Following Friday’s disappointing sales result, the remainder of the year looks a little less bright.

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