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June retail sales jump 7.5 percent, beating expectations

June retail sales jump 7.5 percent, beating expectations
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Retail sales in June rose 7.5 percent, according to Commerce Department figures released Thursday, beating expectations of a roughly 5 percent increase from May.

Sales were even up 1.1 percent from June 2019, at $524.3 billion — an astonishing amount given that many businesses were either shuttered or operating at reduced capacity due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Bars and restaurants saw a 20 percent spike in sales last month compared with May as states loosened more COVID-19 restrictions. Those gains, however, could dwindle in July amid renewed outbreaks in several states that have led to more business closures.

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Auto sales increased 8.2 percent in June compared to the previous month.

Still, markets were down Thursday after the opening bell, as new jobless claims showed an increase, boosting concerns of a prolonged period of high unemployment.

The June sales increase follows the roller coaster sales numbers from March and April, when new monthly records were set with retail declines followed by May's 18.2 percent increase, an all-time monthly high.