Retail sales up 6% from last year

Washington, D.C. – U.S. retail and food services sales totaled $422.8 billion last month, according to new advance estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau. This represents a 0.4% increase from $421.2 billion in the prior month, and a more substantial 5.7% increase from $399.9 billion in the same month last year.

Non-store retailers, motor vehicle and parts dealers and building material, garden equipment and supplies dealers showed especially strong increases in sales from June 2012. Gains from May 2013 were less dramatic, but furniture and home furnishings stores had the largest growth. Electronics and appliance stores was the only retail category to post a reduction in year-over-year sales, a slight 0.3%, while categories including miscellaneous store retailers and building material, garden equipment and supplies dealers posted small decreases in sales compared to the prior month.

Kathy Bostjancic, director of macroeconomic analysis for The Conference Board, said a better labor market is helping to boost consumer spending.

“Consumer spending is maintaining momentum as consumer confidence gains some strength,” said Bostjancic. “Job growth has bolstered confidence and wage growth has begun a modest upward trend. However, excluding auto and gasoline, sales edged down. That said, having spent the past few years paying off debt, consumers can finally put into play some long delayed replacement purchasing. These factors are behind the recent gain in retail spending. What’s more, they suggest spending will speed up a little through the summer. Unless conditions change substantially, these developments are very likely to continue into the fall, perhaps right into the holiday season.”