Retail sales across the country saw solid growth during June as the recovery from the pandemic continued, according to a National Retail Federation report released Friday.
NRF’s calculation of retail sales — which excludes automobile dealers, gasoline stations and restaurants to focus on core retail — showed June was up 0.8 percent seasonally adjusted from May and up 12.1 percent unadjusted year-over-year. That compared with a month-over-month decline of 1.9 percent and a year-over-year increase of 16.5 percent in May. NRF’s numbers were up 19.3 percent unadjusted year-over-year on a three-month moving average.
“We’re continuing to see an impressive recovery,” NRF Chief Economist Jack Kleinhenz said. “The economy and consumption are particularly sensitive to government policy, and the boost we saw from government support earlier in the year is continuing to show benefits. Reopening of both stores and the overall economy has progressed, and even higher prices seen in some retail categories reflecting the push-and-pull of supply chain challenges haven’t proven to be a deterrent to spending. As more people get vaccinated and get out, some of the growth will shift to services rather than retail but there’s enough momentum to support both.”
The U.S. Census Bureau reported Friday that overall retail sales in June were up 0.6 percent seasonally adjusted from May and up 18 percent year-over-year. That compares with a decrease of 1.7 percent month-over-month and an increase of 27.6 percent year-over-year in May. Year-over-year increases were unusually high this spring because most stores were closed by the pandemic during those months last year, but some stores had started to reopen by last June. Despite occasional month-over-month declines, sales have grown year-over-year every month since June 2020, according to Census data.
For the first six months of the year, sales were up 16.4 percent over the same period in 2020. With the rate of growth expected to slow in the second half of the year, that is consistent with NRF’s revised forecast that 2021 retail sales should grow between 10.5 and 13.5 percent over 2020 to between $4.44 trillion and $4.56 trillion. As with NRF’s monthly calculation, the forecast excludes auto dealers, gas stations and restaurants.
READ ALSO: AMP’s 2021 Future 50