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Pandemic recovery continues as June retail sees solid growth

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Retail sales saw solid growth during June, increasing in most categories on a monthly basis and across the board on a yearly basis.

The data suggests the recovery from the coronavirus pandemic continued, the National Retail Federation said today.

Commenting on the data, CEO and President of the NRF Matthew Shay, said: “Continued growth in June retail sales shows enduring strength in the American consumer.

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“Heading into the back-to-school season, we expect record sales as families purchase electronics, shoes and backpacks for in-person learning this year. However, as the drop in monthly auto sales indicates, retailers are facing product shortages and supply chain constraints.”

Adding: “We urge Congress and the administration to enact meaningful, bipartisan infrastructure legislation that is critical for retailers who depend on a safe, reliable and efficient transportation system to drive further economic growth.”

While NRF Chief Economist Jack Kleinhenz, said: “We’re continuing to see an impressive recovery. The economy and consumption are particularly sensitive to government policy, and the boost we saw from government support earlier in the year is continuing to show benefits.

“Reopening of both stores and the overall economy has progressed, and even higher prices seen in some retail categories reflecting the push-and-pull of supply chain challenges haven’t proven to be a deterrent to spending. As more people get vaccinated and get out, some of the growth will shift to services rather than retail but there’s enough momentum to support both.”

The U.S. Census Bureau said overall retail sales in June were up 0.6 percent seasonally adjusted from May and up 18 percent year-over-year. That compares with a decrease of 1.7 percent month-over-month and an increase of 27.6 percent year-over-year in May.

Year-over-year increases were unusually high this spring because most stores were closed by the pandemic during those months last year, but some stores had started to reopen by last June. Despite occasional month-over-month declines, sales have grown year-over-year every month since June 2020, according to Census data.

NRF’s calculation of retail sales – which excludes automobile dealers, gasoline stations and restaurants to focus on core retail – showed June was up 0.8 percent seasonally adjusted from May and up 12.1 percent unadjusted year-over-year.

That compared with a month-over-month decline of 1.9 percent and a year-over-year increase of 16.5 percent in May. NRF’s numbers were up 19.3 percent unadjusted year-over-year on a three-month moving average.

For the first six months of the year, sales were up 16.4 percent over the same period in 2020. With the rate of growth expected to slow in the second half of the year, which is consistent with NRF’s revised forecast that 2021 retail sales should grow between 10.5 and 13.5 percent over 2020 to between $4.44 trillion and $4.56 trillion.

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