Retail sales increased by 7.5% in US this month

Retail sales in the United States last month increased by close to 8%, the Commerce Department said in its monthly report Thursday.

The report put the total June sales figure at $524.3 billion, an increase of 7.5% over May and 1.1% over June 2019.

“Retail trade sales were up 6.4% from May 2020, and 5% above last year,” the report states. “Non-store retailers were up 23.5% from June 2019, while building material and garden equipment and supplies dealers were up 17.3%.”

Dow Jones survey of economists had expected retail sales to improve 5%, excluding vehicle sales. Sales prices surprised experts in May with an increase of 17.4%.

Sales in June were helped by the final rounds of federal stimulus checks and tax refunds, but experts caution that the July sales report should reflect some economic downturn seen in states where the COVID-19 pandemic has gotten worse.

States like California, Florida and Texas recently had to pull back from re-opening their economies because of significant rises in cases.

Diane Swonk, chief economist at Grant Thornton, said next month’s report will likely reflect an economic downturn for states that again had to lock down due to a resurgence of coronavirus cases.

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