Despite the US trade war with China and other countries, sales in June at US retail stores were up 4.2 per cent unadjusted year-over-year and 0.07 per cent seasonally adjusted, the National Retail Federation (NRF) has said. Sales at clothing and clothing accessory stores were up 4.6 per cent y-o-y but down 2.5 per cent month-over-month seasonally adjusted. “This is a healthy retail sales report and consistent with underlying economic momentum that has fueled a steady run of retail sales increases,” NRF Chief Economist Jack Kleinhenz said. “The big question is whether households can continue this spending pace, which is helping drive the current economic cycle. We think they can, but the big risk to the outlook is the trade war, which could raise prices while reducing consumer confidence and household buying power.”
The three-month moving average was up 4.4 per cent over the same period a year ago, matching the top end of NRF’s forecast that 2018 retail sales will grow between 3.8 percent and 4.4 percent over 2017. The numbers exclude automobiles, gasoline stations and restaurants. The June results build on improvement seen in May, which was up 1 per cent monthly and up 6.1 per cent year-over-year. NRF’s numbers are based on data from the US Census Bureau, which said overall June sales – including automobiles, gasoline and restaurants – were up 0.5 per cent seasonally adjusted from May and up 6.6 per cent year-over-year.