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US Retailers Encouraged by June Increase

Jul 19, 2020 5:53 AM   By Rapaport News
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 June saw the first year-on-year sales growth for US retailers since the beginning of 2020 as more businesses emerged from lockdown, according to government data.

Revenue for the month grew 1.1% over the same period last year, and rose 8% over May’s figure, data from the US Census Bureau showed.

“The retail sales numbers from last month were very encouraging and reflect continued progress in the right direction,” National Retail Federation (NRF) CEO Matthew Shay said last week. “It’s clear that congressional relief packages have found their way into consumers’ pockets and are being spent by people who are happy to be back out in communities that are slowly reopening.”

Many of the retail categories that showed the most improvement were those that had been closed for a long period during the pandemic, the NRF stated. Two-thirds of retail categories saw month-on-month gains, while just over half noted year-on-year increases. Compared to May, sales more than doubled at clothing and clothing-accessory stores, which include jewelry sales.

However, while sales have been improving since last month, they could slide backwards depending on a renewal in virus cases, NRF warned.

“How durable the improvement in retail spending will be is directly related to how widespread the resurgence in Covid-19 cases becomes,” noted NRF chief economist Jack Kleinhenz. “All eyes are on the infections that are accelerating in many parts of the country and they pose a serious threat to recovery.”

Meanwhile, fearing future store closures, retailers have been ordering stock conservatively. Imports at major US retail container ports are expected to remain “significantly” lower than last year’s level into the fall, and through the end of the year, according to the Global Port Tracker report, released by the NRF and Hackett Associates.

While October is likely to be the busiest month of the July-to-October season for shipping prior to the Christmas holidays, it is expected to be the lowest peak since 2014.

“The current economy is far from normal and will require a lengthy period to absorb job losses and build up to where it was before,” Kleinhenz added. 

Image: A woman shopping at a mall. (Shutterstock)
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Tags: Global Port Tracker, Hackett Associates, Jack Kleinhenz, Matthew Shay, National Retail Federation, NRF, Rapaport News, US Census Bureau, US retail sales
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