this Aug. 7, 2019, photo shoppers ride an escalator
Glendale Galleria in Glendale, Calif.
WAUKESHA — July retail sales
across the nation show strong gains but the stock market and tariffs
could lead to caution in consumer spending, the National Retail
Federation announced Thursday.
Retail sales were up .9% in July seasonally adjusted from June and
up 5.6% unadjusted year-over-year, according to an NRF press
release. The numbers exclude automobile dealers, gasoline stations
“July’s strong results are consistent with a confident consumer,”
said Jack Kleinhenz, NRF chief economist. “Households are in good
shape with spending and that should continue as long as the labor
market remains healthy.”
However, Kleinhenz said it’s important to remember that today’s data
is looking backward at what was happening a month ago.
“The impact of volatile financial markets and increased trade
tensions in recent weeks may put a wind of caution in consumer
spending as we move forward in 2019,” Kleinhenz said.
The release of July’s numbers comes two days after the Trump
administration delayed new tariffs on some consumer goods until Dec.
15 to avoid any impact on holiday spending, but many products will
still be hit by tariffs taking effect on Sept. 1 as scheduled,
according to the press release.
As of July, the three-month moving average was up 3.5% over the same
period a year ago, compared with 3.7% in June. July’s results build
on gains of 0.6% month-over-month and 2.2% year-over-year seen in
June, according to the press release.
The NRF’s numbers are based on data from the U.S. Census Bureau,
which said today that overall July sales — including auto dealers,
gas stations and restaurants — were up 0.7% seasonally adjusted from
June and up 3.4% unadjusted year-over-year, according to the press