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Retail sales continue steady run

June retail sales were up 0.07 percent seasonally adjusted from May’s strong performance and increased 4.2 percent unadjusted year-over-year as economic growth continued despite the U.S. trade war with China and other countries, the National Retail Federation said.

The numbers exclude automobiles, gasoline stations and restaurants.

“This is a healthy retail sales report and consistent with underlying economic momentum that has fueled a steady run of retail sales increases,” NRF Chief Economist Jack Kleinhenz said in a recent announcement.

“The big question is whether households can continue this spending pace, which is helping drive the current economic cycle,” he said. “We think they can, but the big risk to the outlook is the trade war, which could raise prices while reducing consumer confidence and household buying power.”

The three-month moving average was up 4.4 percent over the same period a year ago, matching the top end of NRF’s forecast that 2018 retail sales will grow between 3.8 percent and 4.4 percent over 2017.

The June results build on improvement seen in May, which was up 1 percent monthly and up 6.1 percent year-over-year.

NRF’s numbers are based on data from the U.S. Census Bureau, which said overall June sales – including automobiles, gasoline and restaurants – were up 0.5 percent seasonally adjusted from May and up 6.6 percent year-over-year.

Specifics from key retail sectors during June include: Online and other non-store sales were up 7.3 percent year-over-year and up 1.3 percent month-over-month seasonally adjusted.

Health and personal care stores were up 5.8 percent year-over-year and up 2.2 percent month-over-month seasonally adjusted.

Clothing and clothing accessory stores were up 4.6 percent year-over-year but down 2.5 percent month-over-month seasonally adjusted.

Furniture and home furnishings stores were up 4.4 percent year-over-year and up 0.6 percent month-over-month seasonally adjusted.

Grocery and beverage stores were up 4.2 percent year-over-year but down 0.3 percent month-over-month seasonally adjusted.

General merchandise stores were up 3.1 percent year-over-year but down 0.8 percent month-over-month seasonally adjusted.

Building materials and garden supply stores were up 2.8 percent year-over-year and up 0.8 percent month-over-month seasonally adjusted.

Electronics and appliance stores were up 1.6 percent year-over-year but down 0.4 percent month-over-month seasonally adjusted.

Sporting goods stores were down 3.7 percent year-over-year and down 3.2 percent month-over-month seasonally adjusted.

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