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June retail sales are up slightly, say Commerce and NRF

By Jeff Berman, Group News Editor
July 14, 2011

As has been the case in recent months, stagnant economic growth has been on display in the form of monthly retail sales, and June was no exception, give the most recent batch of retail sales data from the United States Department of Commerce and the National Retail Federation (NRF).

June retail sales, which include non-general merchandise like automobiles, gasoline, and restaurants, were $387.8 billion for a 0.1 percent increase from May and an 8.1 percent increase compared to June 2010, according to Commerce data. Commerce said that total retail sales from April through June were up 7.7 percent annually.

Retail sales have now been up for 12 straight months on an annual basis.

According to NRF data, June retail sales, which exclude automobiles, gas stations, and restaurants, were up 0.3 percent from May on a seasonally-adjusted basis and up 5.5 percent unadjusted year-over-year.

Despite the relatively limited growth, NRF Chief Economist Jack Kleinhenz was upbeat about June’s performance.

“With the summer season well underway, retailers are hoping this momentum continues through the back to school season,” said Kleinhenz in a statement. “Knowing that shoppers remain concerned about the economy, companies have already begun offering aggressive promotions to entice shoppers.”

As LM has reported, in conjunction with flat retail sales is an ostensible stalling in freight growth to a certain degree as evidenced by recent reports from the American Trucking Associations and Cass Information Systems. Reports in recent months from both concerns show that freight growth is in a holding pattern brought on by high fuel prices, a crippled housing market, and lack of meaningful job growth, among other factors.

And with a recent lull in fuel prices there still remains a distinct possibility that retail sales will remain at current levels in the coming months. Freight volumes, specifically on the trucking side, are displaying volumes that are still well below pre-recession levels.

“Retail consumers are showing continued spending restraint.  It appears that even the employed have become cautious in spending, and after seeing the alarmingly low June new jobs figures and the unemployment rate rising again, there could be negative impact on retailers and their transport companies as they look toward the traditional peak fall season,” said Charles W. “Chuck” Clowdis, Jr., Managing Director-Transportation Advisory Services, at IHS Global Insight.

About the Author

Jeff Berman headshot
Jeff Berman
Group News Editor

Jeff Berman is Group News Editor for Logistics Management, Modern Materials Handling, and Supply Chain Management Review. Jeff works and lives in Cape Elizabeth, Maine, where he covers all aspects of the supply chain, logistics, freight transportation, and materials handling sectors on a daily basis. .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).


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