Published: Thu, August 17, 2017
Business | By Jorge Reeves

Retail Sales Post Biggest Gain in Seven Months

Retail Sales Post Biggest Gain in Seven Months

Analysts, who had been expecting an increase of only 0.3 per cent in July, said the result was a strong start to growth in the third quarter.

Meanwhile, department stores had their best month since January, rising a full percentage point over June, perhaps easing some fears that brick-and-mortar outlets are facing collapse as consumers switch to internet shopping. June's retail sales were revised to show a 0.3 per cent gain instead of the previously reported 0.2 per cent drop.

Helping to push the June level higher was a 1.2% increase in auto sales from the month before, its biggest increase since December.

Retail sales in July, according to data from the US Census Bureau, were boosted by output from non-store retailers and by sales of building materials and garden supplies.

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"American shoppers flocked to the malls and even department stores in July, suggesting consumers are well-positioned to propel the economy forward in the second half of the year", said Sal Guatieri, a senior economist at BMO Capital Markets in Toronto.

"The number showed broad-based strength, it beat forecasts both on the headline and the core and what was also encouraging was how the number for June got revised from the red back into positive territory", Manimbo said.

"The retail report can be quite volatile and subject to large revisions", MarketWatch explained.

Excluding sales of autos and parts, sales rose by 0.5% on the month to hit $378.8bn (consensus: 0.4%). There were sales gains in other areas, including furniture stores, hardware stores and restaurants. The general trend of retail sales still remains worrying, despite the improvement over the last couple of months and 2% inflation still looks a pipe dream.

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The giant online seller held its annual Prime Day last month offering cut-rate prices on thousands of goods.

The dollar rose 0.6 percent to 110.26 yen, pulling away from a low of 108.72 yen set on Friday, its lowest level since April 19.

Gasoline stations, electronics merchants and clothing chains were the only categories to show sales declines in July.

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