June Retail Sales Fall



June retail sales fell 0.5 percent—a number that came in below analysts’ expectations—from the prior month, reported the U.S. Commerce Department.

Sales still rose 3.8 percent from one year earlier.

Excluding autos, retail and food services sales in June were down 0.4 percent from May, but up 3 percent from June 2011.

Sales at clothing and clothing accessory stores—the category that includes jewelry—rose 0.2 percent for the month, and 3.5 percent from the year before.

The National Retail Federation released similar numbers, reporting that June retail sales (excluding automobiles, gas stations, and restaurants) decreased 0.4 percent seasonally adjusted from May but increased 1.7 percent unadjusted year-over-year. The year-over-year increase marks 24 consecutive months of sustained retail sales growth, the group added.

“Weak economic numbers over the past few weeks have increased anxiety about the future direction of the economy,” NRF chief economist Jack Kleinhenz said in a statement. “Today’s data is discouraging but not demoralizing. If you look at the first half of the year overall, retail sales actually increased 4.6 percent year-over-year, indicating that the economy is improving but maybe not quick enough to impact consumer spending and job growth.”

The group found that sales at clothing and clothing accessories stores increased 0.2 percent for the month, and 5 percent for the year.