Sales were higher on a year-over-year basis, led by a $5.3 billion, or 11.2%, increase in non-store sales. Vehicles and parts sales were close behind, up by $5.2 billion, or 5.5%. Building and garden supply stores sales were up by $2.3 billion, or 7.9%. On the downside, sales at sports and hobby stores were down by $282 million, or 3.8%. Department store sales were down by $238 million, or 1.8%, amid a struggle against online competition, while electronics and appliance store sales were down by $85 million, or 1.0%, from the prior year.
Despite all of the weak May data, the Federal Reserve raised interest rates in June but finally took a breather in July. Today’s retail sales report, along with upward revisions in the last couple months, paints a brighter picture for consumer spending. Even so, inflation remains at bay and wage growth remains tepid. This bodes well for no rate hike in September.