Autos fuel 0.6% rise in July retail sales

September 15, 2015

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 ( Sept. 14).

“A number of retailers held Black Friday in July online events,” said Ryan Sweet, Moody’s analyst ( “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.