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U.S. Jewelry Store Sales +8% to $3B

Department Store Sales Decline

Jul 15, 2013 10:21 AM   By Jeff Miller
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RAPAPORT... U.S. jewelry store sales jumped 7.6 percent year on year in the month of May to $3.014 billion. Excluding the month of December, which historically records the highest monthly total for jewelry sales, May's figure was the largest month to date for any previous January through November total. May's figure also benefited from benign consumer price inflation (CPI), which was flat.  U.S. jewelry store sales for the January through May cycle have improved 10.5 percent to $12.661 billion.

In other retail news, advanced estimates for the month of June reflected poor performance at department stores, where sales plunged 5.7 percent year on year to $13.6 billion. Total retail and food services sales, excluding the auto industry, rose 2.7 percent to $339.1 billion. Nonstore retail sales surged 13.8 percent.  Retail trade sales rose 6 percent.

U.S. chain-store sales in June posted a gain of 3.9 percent, which was better than expected, according to the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC). 

"Excluding drugstores, the preliminary tally actually rose by a very strong 5.3 percent in June, which would be the strongest reading since August of 2012,” said Michael P. Niemira, the vice president of research and chief economist for ICSC. “Overall, these data continue to paint an improving picture after a ‘softer’ first quarter (February to April) and are encouraging as we move into the second fiscal quarter of the year.” retail sales

ICSC research anticipates a similar improvement for July with chain-store sales increasing between 3 percent and 3.5 percent.

According to the National Retail Federation (NRF), consumer spending and retail sales ended the second quarter on a soft note, indicating that economic growth and acceleration has weakened. June's retail sales, excluding automobiles, gas stations and restaurants, increased 3 percent unadjusted year over year.

“Consumers remain wary,” said NRF's president, Matthew Shay said. “Even though healthy home prices and stock values are helping to improve confidence and spending, stagnantly-high unemployment, higher taxes and lingering policy uncertainty continue to keep shoppers and economic growth at bay. The recovery is solid and good but its pace remains measured and modest.”

NRF's chief economist, Jack Kleinhenz, added, “The consumer economy is improving but growth rates and retail sales will remain reserved for the foreseeable future. U.S. households have adjusted their spending to a slow-growth economy. With employment and consumer confidence improving, we expect that the second half will be better than the first.”

Strong sales performance was evident for building materials and garden equipment and supplies as well as clothing and clothing accessories stores. However, sales dropped at electronics and appliance stores and improved just slightly for furniture and home furnishing stores, general merchandise stores, sporting good stores and health and personal care stores.

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Tags: Consumer Spending, department stores, Economy, ICSC, Jeff Miller, jewelry stores, National Retail Federation, retail, sales
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