Retail Sales Rise at Slower-than-Expected Pace in June

Retail sales rose 0.2% in June from the previous month, lower than Wall Street’s estimates for 0.5% growth. Sales excluding auto and gas increased 0.3%, in line with estimates from economists surveyed by Bloomberg. Meanwhile, May’s sales were revised up to 0.5% from 0.3%.

Seven of the 13 categories highlighted in the release saw increases from a month ago. Furniture and home furniture stores increased 1.4% while electronics and appliance stores gained 1.1%. Growth at nonstore retailers, which includes online sales, helped keep total sales higher than the month prior with a 1.9% increase from May.

Department stores saw sales decline 2.4%. Meanwhile, gasoline stations declined by the most of any major category, falling 1.4% from the month prior. Sales at grocery stores fell 0.7%. The monthly retail sales report does not adjust statistics for inflation.

The details are fairly encouraging overall, but we still remain of the view that the consumer is slowing down,” Jefferies US Economist Thomas Simons wrote on Thursday. “Were it not for the Social Security-fueled jump in January, the first half of this year would look fairly subdued. Consumers are facing tougher choices when it comes to spending, now that they have their biggest incentive to rebuild and increase their savings in decades.”