United States retail sales surge in July on strong autos

Sales at US retailers surged in July to the highest level of 2017, aided by strong demand for new autos and Amazon's Prime Day shopping specials. Total retail sales have grown year-over-year every month since November 2009, and retail sales as calculated by NRF - excluding automobiles, gasoline stations and restaurants - have increased year-over-year in all but three months since the beginning of 2010. That followed an upwardly revised increase of 0.2 percent for May.

Retail trade sales were up 0.6% from June 2017, and up 4.3% from past year.

Non-store retailers, which includes online shopping, reported sales increased 1.3% in July from the month before, while recording a whopping 11.5% compared to July 2016.

Department stores, a sub-category of general merchandise stores, and sporting goods, hobby, books and music stores repeated as the only two categories in negative territory.

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"This means that not only is the second quarter personal consumption expenditures probably going to be revised higher from an already strong 2.8%, but that the expectations for PCE during the third quarter are also going to be marked up going forward", he said.

Retail sales for the month of May and June were revised higher, which would possible help to assuage concerns about consumer spending.

The saving rate has dropped to 3.8 per cent in the second quarter of this year from a rate of 6.2 per cent in the second quarter of 2015.

Economists had forecast retail sales increasing 0.4 per cent in July.

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Excluding sales of autos and parts, sales rose by 0.5% on the month to hit $378.8bn (consensus: 0.4%). Commerce Department figures aren't adjusted for prices, so cheaper fuel costs depress results.

Sales of motor vehicles and building materials both increased by 1.2% month-on-month to reach $100.1bn and $31.44bn, respectively.

Sales at electronic stores also fell slightly, but in all likelihood consumers merely shifted purchases to online retailers such as Amazon.

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