July Retail Sales Edge Up

       

       

WASHINGTON—Overall U.S. retail sales edged up last month but home continues to be basically flat.

Overall sales, helped by automobiles, were $362.7 billion, up 0.4 percent over June and 5.5 percent over July 2009, according to figures released today by the U.S. Census Bureau.

But home was a different story. Furniture and home-furnishings stores saw their sales decline 0.3 percent month to month, and rise just 0.5 percent year over year. Sales at department stores (excluding leased departments) dropped 1 percent from June and fell 0.8 percent from July of last year.

Commenting on the July totals, the National Retail Federation said retailers aggressively promoted back-to-school sales last month. The month saw “strong gains,” NRF said, in sales of clothing and accessories, and electronics and appliances

“Household spending remains tepid amid concerns about economic stability,” said Jack Kleinhenz, NRF’s chief economist. “Current data on the economy is mixed, which signals that retailers will continue planning with caution until a long-term trend can be established.”