Americans kept shopping in July with retail sales rising 1.2 percent from June, reflecting a rare bright spot in the battered economy.
The jump in sales reported on Friday by the Commerce Department, though smaller than the increases in the previous two months, showed that the bounce back in spending to pre-pandemic levels was not a fluke. Sales are now back at the level they were in February. It was instead a sign that consumerism, buoyed by government support, remains resilient even as many other facets of American life are increasingly bleak.
“It shows there is a willingness and a desire to spend,” said Michelle Meyer, chief U.S. economist at Bank of America. “There is no doubt the recovery in consumer spending has been robust.”
Retail sales in June rose 8.4 percent. That followed a May jump, 18.2 percent, which was the largest monthly surge on record. But that had followed two months of record declines.