Retail Sales Rise for the Second Straight Month

NEW YORK ( — Retail sales rose for the second straight month in June, the government reported Tuesday, but the gains came mostly from auto purchases, higher gas prices and a modest pick up in electronics sales.

The Commerce Department said total retail sales rose 0.6% last month, compared with May’s gain of 0.5%.

Economists surveyed by had been expecting June sales to increase 0.4%.

Sales excluding autos and auto parts also rose 0.3%, softer than expected, compared to a 0.5% increase in the measure in May.

Economists had forecast a gain of 0.5% in June sales, excluding auto purchases.

The report showed auto sales rose 2.3% in June while gasoline station sales jumped 5% in the month. Electronics sales rose 0.9%, while sales at sporting and music stores also increased 0.9%.

But June was a disappointment in most other retail categories. Sales at clothing sellers were flat in June versus the prior month, department store sales slumped 1.3% and sales at general merchandise stores slipped 0.4%.


15 Responses to “Retail Sales Rise for the Second Straight Month”

  1. 1 Dave Crider July 14, 2009 at 8:29 AM

    Well hearing an increase in auto sales is certainly encouraging but I think the increase in electronics is more due to the release of the Palm Pre and the new iPhone 3Gs. Both have sold numerous units. The article states clothing is remaining flat but hopefully that will change next month with back to school buyers.

  2. 2 Lani Sambrotto July 14, 2009 at 4:38 PM

    Good to see that here in the U.S. we are reducing our credit debts. I do think some of that is due to higher rates set by the CC companies on risky borrowers. I would also like to think we are getting away from being such a credit society. That’s a great thing. If you don’t need it, don’t spend money you don’t have.

  3. 3 Nick Rood July 15, 2009 at 8:02 AM

    It strikes me as a little odd that the tone of this article is leaning toward the negative side. Right now, it seems that any increase in retail sales should be meet with arms wide open. Even if automobile, gas and electronics are the focus of this increase, it still demonstrates people’s willingness to spend some of their money once again. June is a big month for travel and people are always waiting for the latest in technology (as Dave said). I also agree that families are most likely waiting until the school year to purchase new clothes. If this trend continues, and people feel more comfortable putting money back into the economy, other areas will start to see the benefits as well. It will just take time. Bottom line, positive numbers in retail sales.

  4. 4 Carolyne Abrams July 20, 2009 at 9:20 PM

    What a way to pull the wool over peoples eyes. Although it seems to be a positive article upon reading the title, you can’t ignore the fact that the increase in sales is directly correlated with the increase in gasoline prices. The prices go up at the pump, we have no other choice but to pay more money. The increase in consumer spending is not due to comfort in our economy. Yes, people do tend to get out a bit more during the warmer months, but as the article said, gas prices rose 5%. I’m not impressed nor do I think that this is a sign of our economy improving. I know I sound like a pessimist, but this is just showing us that prices continue to rise, along with unemployment rate. Bad combo.

  5. 5 Joseph Garcia July 23, 2009 at 7:33 PM

    The article doesn’t tell of a brighter look in the coming months. They say they expected a .2% higher increase in auto sales than actual .3%. Overall, I still think we’re not getting out of the recession any time soon with these low figures. Summer is a time of vacation, going out, so natural increases will follow, especially gas. However, come fall, they’ll take another dip.

  6. 6 Kit t Kat July 24, 2009 at 4:49 PM

    Not surprising gas sales would go up because car sales went up too. The two go hand and hand. Electronics sales went up; also, it is not unlikely that music sales would go up too. People buy music for some of their eletronics like, IPODS. In June, retail and department and general merchandise stores sales went down prehaps because most people were out of school. When school starts up again, retail sales would likely increase.

  7. 7 Sanamjit Bains July 24, 2009 at 9:15 PM

    Its encouraging to see that the retail sales have gone up for the second consecutive month. This show that the confidence in the economy in building up and the impact of the changed policies by the new government administrators are sowing positive results.

  8. 8 Artessy July 24, 2009 at 10:36 PM

    uhm. i dont think so…

  9. 9 Amanda Smith July 25, 2009 at 10:59 AM

    I had the same feeling as Nick when I read this article. It sounds negative, even though this is good news. We should be very happy to hear that any sales have risen recently, be it cars, electronics, or clothes.
    I believe it being summertime is the main reason for the sale increase. Teens having the time to get a summer job and make money would definitely increase the sale of cars and electronics. And many people go on trips and vacations during the summer, which is why car and gas sales have gone up. It will be interesting to see if the sales continue to increase when school starts back up.

  10. 10 Evangelina Alvarez July 25, 2009 at 2:13 PM

    It’s summertime, and what do people do, travel. No wonder sales in cars and gas have gone up. Especially with the car company’s bailing out, there cars are cheap, some of the deals are worth taking if you really are in the market for a car. Like someone else said they do go hand in hand. Although, I do see this as a positive thing, money is money and if it’s being put back into our economy thats great.

  11. 11 Lauren Swartz July 27, 2009 at 8:12 AM

    The United States needs to figure out a way to keep its economy healthy without driving its citizens to spend. There are numerous economy-wide benefits to individuals’ saving. Unfortunately as soon as Americans stop spending beyond their means the economy contracts and conditions worsen, or are said to not be improving as expected. Structural changes are needed to move our economy from consumption driven to production based.

  12. 12 Thomas Babcock, Japan August 1, 2009 at 6:02 AM

    dear Dr. Steven J. Balassi,
    You have a nice site but don’t you think that the articles you pick may happy feelly economics. Likes this story from cnn really, please. CNN thought everything was still ok last august and now retail sales rise for two months. Retail sale always rise around this time. What are durables doing, down. Oil price always go up in summer as well as oil is trying to make it back to break even price $80.00 a B. Car prices, cash for clunker stimulus crap. SO why put this on your blog. If you are a prof then really teach

  13. 13 Abby August 2, 2009 at 10:59 AM

    I don’t think that this should be viewed as all “bad news.” The data reflects our tendency to first spend money on consumer necessities, like gasoline, and to hold off on spending money on superfluous consumer wants like products at department stores. Also, as people forgo bigger summer vacations for a road trip, sales related to autos/gas should improve. While sales across all markets are sure to stay low for quite awhile, the jump in sales in these areas correspond with Americans’ recession-adjusted consumer spending, which will hopefully continue to increase across the board as we slowly climb out of the recession.

  14. 14 Jessica Tsai August 2, 2009 at 4:38 PM

    The fact that Americans are spending more simply reflects our adjustment to the recession. As we skimp on certain luxuries or big-time goods, we still feel the need to upgrade necessities such as cell phones especially when the state of California emphasizes the “necessity” of owning these goods. I am not surprised that gas and car sales have increased since at the onset of summer, it is natural for families to take vacations. When pinched for money, some people may be choosing to take road-trips as opposed to long vacations that involve airfare. This article sheds light on perhaps the attitude adjustment necessary to pull us out of the recession; Americans tend to live big and as the hike in gas and car sales shows, perhaps the reason we got into the recession in the first place is because we would rather take a cheaper vacation rather than forgo this luxury and save the money for a ‘rainy day’.

  15. 15 Maricar De Los Reyes August 6, 2009 at 3:17 PM

    Both good and bad news. As everyone has said, most of the spending is due to increase in gas prices and traveling. But the good thing about it is, AT LEAST they’re going out and doing things, even during this economic pit. I’ve seen many people go from cars to bikes or public transportation. For those that have bought cars and electronics, it may have been a balance between necessity and want. At least they’re trusting enough to spend the money. Plus, cars are somewhat cheaper these days.

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