Retail Sales Offers One Bright Spot
ARLINGTON, Va. – In a potential glimmer of hope for the economy, retail sales during July grew at a rate of 0.5%, above what many analysts had been projecting.
In its analysis, NAFCU noted that sales at auto dealers in dollar terms lagged behind unit sales, which makes the month’s overall growth more encouraging. Department store sales (-0.8%) suffered last month despite the advent of the back-to-school season as thrifty consumers focused more on basic necessities. A bright spot was that the segments associated with the housing market, such as furniture stores and appliance stores, showed gains in July.
NAFCU is projecting consumer spending will show gradual increases as the labor market continues its slow recovery. However, the trade association warned numerous risks remain as further declines in the housing and equities markets or an increase in gas prices will have consumers cutting back once again.