Retail sales increased more than expected in July, rising 0.8% over the month. Consumer spending recovered at department stores, auto dealers, and electronics outlets. Some of the gain seen in July may payback for the 0.7% decline seen in June. Looking at core retail sales the payback trend is less significant, as retail sales grew 0.9% in July after declining 0.4% the previous month. Retail sales are now 4.1% above year-ago levels.
Sporting goods stores and non-store retailers saw the greatest gains, rising 1.6% and 1.5% respectively. Auto retailers saw string gains as well, rising 0.8%. Gasoline stations also posted their first improvement in four months, rising 0.5%.
Read the Census release.