US Retail Sales Picking Up Steam

US retail trade rose by 0.5 percent month-over-month in June 2018, following an upwardly revised 1.3 percent advance in May and matching market expectations. June's gains were mainly boosted by increases in purchases of motor vehicles.

8 of 13 major retail categories showed month-over-month increases.

Sales at motor vehicle & parts dealers advanced 0.9 percent in June (vs 0.8 percent in May) and those at gasoline stations increased 1 percent (vs 3 percent in May). Sales at building material stores increased 0.8 percent last month (vs 2.5 percent in May), and online and mail-order retail trade surged 1.3 percent (vs 0.4 percent in May), the biggest gain since November 2017. Sales also rose at: furniture & home furniture stores (0.6 percent vs -1.4 percent); health & personal care stores (2.2 percent vs 1.3 percent); miscellaneous store retailers (0.2 percent vs 1.2 percent); and food services & drinking places (1.5 percent vs 2.6 percent).

Meanwhile, receipts at clothing stores fell 2.5 percent (vs 2.9 percent in May), the biggest drop since February 2017; and those at hobby, musical instrument and book stores declined 3.2 percent (vs -0.9 percent in May), the most since December 2017. Declines were also seen at: electronics & appliance stores (-0.4 percent vs 0.4 percent); food & beverage stores (-0.3 percent vs 0.2 percent); and general merchandise stores (-0.8 percent vs 1.2 percent).

Excluding automobiles, gasoline, building materials and food services, retail sales were unchanged in June after an upwardly revised 0.8 percent increase in May.

Year-on-year, retail trade grew 6.6 percent in June, compared with a 6.5 percent rise in May.

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