U.S. home improvement sales fell slightly from June levels, new data from the U.S. Census Bureau shows. In total, NAICS 444 sales (not seasonally adjusted) hit $40.3 billion in July, down from $43.1 billion in June sales.
In June, data showed U.S. home improvement retail sales in the first half of 2020 were up 17 percent over the first half of 2019.
The July sales figures show retail sales once again hit prepandemic levels. Overall retail sales in the U.S. grew by 1.2 percent from June to July to reach $536 billion, bolstered by increased spending in clothing and appliances, reports the Los Angeles Times.
Nonstore sales, a category which includes purchases made with companies like Amazon, increased more than 25 percent over June 2019. So far in 2020, the category as a whole is up nearly 20 percent compared to the first seven months of 2019.
Some economists worry retail spending could see a slowdown as certain aspects of the CARE Act’s unemployment benefits came to an end in July. Speaking to CNBC, Robert Frick, corporate economist at Navy Federal Credit Union, says many factors could bring voltaility to future retail spending figures.
“Given continued high unemployment, retail sales in August and in the fall will rely to a large degree on the timing and extent of more government assistance,” Frick says.