NRF Says July Retail Sales Were a Mixed Bag

online-money-300The back-to-school season might have helped boost retail sales, according to the National Retail Federation, as clothing, sporting goods, and books saw an increase in July.

While spending overall appears to have “stalled,” according to NRF chief economist, Jack Kleinhenz, “Americans remain in a cautiously-positive spending pattern. While clothing and sporting goods retailers saw modest gains with early back-to-school shopping, home-based retailers saw marked decreases, possibly indicating the end of the year-long housing boom.”

While there was a decline in July for building materials and furniture, the NRF said many retailers saw an increase in back-to-school categories and sporting goods helping create a .3% seasonally adjusted increase from June.

The July sales report from the NRF also found that:

  • Clothing and accessories stores’ sales increased 0.9 percent seasonally-adjusted month-to-month and increased 5.3 percent unadjusted year-over-year.
  • Electronics and appliance stores’ sales decreased 0.1 percent seasonally-adjusted month-to-month yet increased 0.8 percent unadjusted year-over-year.
  • Furniture and home furnishing stores’ sales decreased 1.4 percent seasonally-adjusted month-to-month yet increased 5.1 percent unadjusted year-over-year.
  • General merchandise stores’ sales increased 0.4 percent seasonally-adjusted month-to-month and increased 1.3 percent unadjusted year-over-year.
  • Sporting goods, hobby, book and music stores’ sales increased 1.0 percent seasonally-adjusted month-to-month and increased 3.9 percent unadjusted year-over-year.

Back-to-school sales are also expected to boost retail sales in August as well, according to a recent survey by ShopperTrak, which found that when comparing the same period last year, retail sales will rise 4.3% in August, and retail foot traffic will increase 0.6%.

Erin Lynch is the senior content producer at Multichannel Merchant. Erin can be reached (203)899-8461 or connect with her socially on Twitter, Google+, and LinkedIn.