Report: Retail Sales Rise 4.0% in July

Chicago ShopperTrak RCT Corp.’s National Retail Sales Estimate reported Wednesday that July retail sales rose a steady 4.0%, while the company’s Retail Traffic Index (SRTI) reported that total U.S. foot traffic slipped 2.2% for the same time period.

Both sales and traffic were slower in the beginning of July before the back-to-school shopping season picked up toward the end of the month.

The report said that July’s year-over-year traffic decrease most likely reflects the American consumer’s continued concern over rising gasoline prices, forcing them to economize on trips to malls and other retail locations and cut back on spending.

“Typically, July is a slow month for retailers, but despite the rather slow traffic levels retailers experienced throughout the month, retail sales remained strong, indicating less frequent and smarter shopping trips from consumers,” said Bill Martin, co-founder of ShopperTrak. “While this spending increase is welcome, retailers need to pay close attention to the dip in foot traffic, as this is the first monthly decrease we’ve seen since March and could indicate that consumers are feeling the proverbial pinch at the pump.”

“That being said, the boost we saw late in the month due to back-to-school spending was encouraging and this trend should continue throughout August, driving the month’s sales and traffic figures,” Martin added.

ShopperTrak’s NRSE reported that sales for the week ending Aug. 9 increased a 0.4% as compared to last year, while weekly sales rose 1.3% vs. the previous seven-day period ending Aug. 2.