June sales beat expectations

WASHINGTON — Warm weather, lower gas costs and strong Father's Day promotions apparently put consumers in a spending mood in June, boosting retail sales for the 12th consecutive month and surpassing many analysts' expectations, according to the National Retail Federation.

Retail industry sales — which exclude automobiles, gas stations and restaurants — in June increased 0.3% seasonally adjusted from May, and 5.5% unadjusted year-over-year, according to NRF.

"A solid year of growth in sales provides further evidence that retailers continue to lead the charge in the economic recovery," stated NRF president and CEO Matthew Shay. "While spending continues to surpass expectations, sustained growth in the retail sector depends on a strong labor market."

"With the summer season well under way, retailers are hoping this momentum continues through the back-to-school season," added NRF chief economist Jack Kleinhenz. "Knowing that shoppers remain concerned about the economy, companies have already begun offering aggressive promotions to entice shoppers."

June retail sales released on Thursday by the U.S. Commerce Department showed total retail sales — which include such nongeneral merchandise categories as autos, gas stations and restaurants — increased 0.1% seasonally adjusted month-to-month, and 8.4% unadjusted year-over-year.

 Specific sales results include:

  • Health and personal care stores sales decreased 0.2% seasonally adjusted over May, but increased 3.9% unadjusted year-over-year;

  • The onset of summer helped boost sales of apparel and garden equipment and supplies. Clothing and clothing accessories stores' sales increased 0.7% seasonally adjusted over May, and 7.6% unadjusted year-over-year. Sales at building material and garden equipment stores increased 1.3% seasonally adjusted month-to-month, and 8.5% unadjusted over last year;

  •  Sales at electronic and appliance stores decreased 0.2% seasonally adjusted month-to-month, and 2.3% unadjusted from last year; and

  • Home furnishings stores sales decreased 0.8% seasonally adjusted over May, and increased 0.2% unadjusted year-over-year.