Retail sales continued their recovery from coronavirus pandemic-related slowdowns this spring, although at a slower rate compared to June, according to monthly data from the National Retail Federation (NRF), released today.
NRF said July sales were up a seasonally adjusted 1% from June and up 10% unadjusted year-over-year. Last month, NRF reported a nearly 5% increase from May to June and a 9.3% increase year-over-year.
The association said the July numbers are part of a strong trend, noting that its data show sales were up 7.1% unadjusted year-over-year on a three-month moving average and up 4.7% for the first seven months of the year.
“Retail sales for July were another positive step in the right direction as our economy continues to slowly reopen,” NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay said in a statement announcing the monthly report. “Americans are showing their continued resilience and willingness to spend in the face of this unprecedented pandemic, and government actions to date have clearly supported consumers and the economy in this process.”
Monthly data from the U.S. Census Bureau also showed an increase in retail sales for July: Sales rose a seasonally adjusted 1.2% from June and were up 2.7% year-over-year. That followed an 8.4% month-over-month increase in June. NRF’s figures differ from the government’s data because NRF excludes automobile dealers, gas stations, and restaurants from its calculations as a way to focus on “core retail.”
Electronics and appliance stores saw the biggest gains in July—primarily due to growing demand for computers as more people work and attend school from home and because of higher spending on home improvement projects, NRF said.