WASHINGTON (9/15/15)--Retail sales outperformed analyst expectations in July, climbing 0.6% during the month after falling flat in June, according to the Census Bureau.
Overall sales were driven by automobiles and nonstore retail sales, which increased by 1.4% and 1.5% respectively (Economy.com Sept. 14).
“A number of retailers held Black Friday in July online events,” said Ryan Sweet, Moody’s analyst (Economy.com). “Anecdotes suggest that sales for some exceeded November’s Black Friday. Also, the Apple Watch may have provided a boost to nonstore retail sales.”
Without automobiles, retail sales rose 0.4% in July.
At building material stores, sales jumped 0.7%, the largest monthly increase since March, and furniture sales increased 0.8% after dropping 1% the previous month.
On a year-over-year basis, total retail sales climbed 2.4%, while nonauto sales ramped up by 1.3%.
“July retail sales were decent and is another hurdle jumped for the Fed to begin normalizing interest rates in September,” Sweet said. “With the consumer finding a rhythm, housing improving, the job market quickly approaching full employment, and core inflation firming, the data are pointing toward a September rate hike, but it will still be a close call.”
The Federal Reserve will announce its decision on whether it will raise short-term interest rates this week after its two-day policy setting meeting, which concludes Thursday.