U.S. weekly retail sales grew 5.6%

ShopperTrak’s National Retail Sales Estimate (NRSE) reported on Tuesday that U.S. retail sales for the week ending July 26 rose by 5.6% compared to the same week in 2002. July remained on pace to register a 5% gain over the same month in 2002 and marked the 13th consecutive week of year-over-year sales growth dating back to May 3.

The continued strong performance of the U.S. retail sector painted a picture of the beginnings of an industry-wide economic recovery, the NRSE said. Over the 29 weeks of 2003, the average year-over-year NRSE sales pace was 2.5%, while over the last three weeks the pace accelerated to an average weekly gain of 5.7%. Many retailers reported stronger sales were in large part, being driven by higher volumes of customer traffic during the month.

“The tenor and pace of sales have improved in July and retailers are turning guardedly more upbeat on the prospects for the second-half of the year, ” said Michael P. Niemira, lead consultant for the NRSE.

Developed by ShopperTrak, the NRSE provides a nationwide benchmark of retail sales. It is derived from the U.S. Commerce Department’s GAFO (general merchandise, apparel, furniture and other related store sales) statistic, as well as ShopperTrak’s proprietary industry intelligence on shopper movement and sales statistics.