U.S. retail sales rose 1% in June, from a revised decline of 0.1 % in May, the Commerce Department said Friday. The retail sales report covers about a third of overall consumer spending and doesn’t include services, such as haircuts, hotel stays and plane tickets.
The figures aren’t adjusted for inflation and so largely reflect higher prices, particularly for gas.
Kathy Bostjancic, chief U.S. economist at Oxford Economics, said that excluding inflation, retail sales still rose about 0.3% in June, up from a contraction of 0.4% in May. She expects the economy to grow at a slim 0.5% annual rate in the April-June quarter, after shrinking in the first three months of the year.
The report showed consumers’ ongoing appetite for non-essentials like gadgets and furniture. In fact, sales at furniture stores rose 1.4%, while consumer electronics stores rose 0.4%. Online sales showed resurgence, posting a 2.2% increase. Business at restaurants was up 1%. But department stores took a hit, posting a 2.6% decline.