July retail sales slow to 1.2 percent, below expectations

Retail sales in July grew by 1.2 percent, about half the pace economists expected, and well below their June bump of 8.4 percent, according to Census Bureau data released Friday.

A 1.2 percent drop in autos and auto parts helped drag down the total figure.

All in all, sales remained just slightly below their first quarter levels, having fallen 0.2 percent during the second quarter.

The data showed that non-store retailers’ sales have spiked in the past year, increasing 24.7 percent, while food and beverage stores have seen sales rise 11.1 percent in the same time period.

Stock futures remained relatively flat on the news. Markets generally have been rising since a plunge when the coronavirus first hit the country, even as unemployment has stayed high.

The retreat in sales occurred amid a national spike in COVID-19 cases, which led many states to pull back on reopening plans.

Some analysts are concerned that August will see a decline in sales. Additional unemployment benefits amounting to $600 a week expired for over 28 million Americans at the end of July, which could reverberate through the economy.

Tags Coronavirus COVID-19 Retail sales Unemployment

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