Consumer spending and retail sales ended the second quarter on a soft note, indicating that economic growth and acceleration has weakened. According to the National Retail Federation, June retail sales (excluding automobiles, gas stations and restaurants) increased 0.6 percent seasonally adjusted from May.
“Consumers remain wary,” NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay said. “Even though healthy home prices and stock values are helping to improve confidence and spending, stagnantly high unemployment, higher taxes and lingering policy uncertainty continue to keep shoppers and economic growth at bay. The recovery is solid and good but its pace remains measured and modest.”
June retail sales, released today by the U.S. Department of Commerce and U.S. Census Bureau, showed total retail and food services sales (which include non-general merchandise categories such as automobiles, gasoline stations and restaurants) increased 0.4 percent seasonally adjusted month-to-month and increased 5.7 percent adjusted year-over-year.
“The consumer economy is improving but growth rates and retail sales will remain reserved for the foreseeable future,” NRF Chief Economist Jack Kleinhenz said. “U.S. households have adjusted their spending to a slow-growth economy. With employment and consumer confidence improving, we expect that the second half will be better than the first.”
In the home improvement industry, building material and garden equipment and supplies dealers stores’ sales decreased 2.2 percent seasonally-adjusted yet increased 6.1 percent unadjusted year-over-year.