Jul 15, 2009
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US retail sales rise 0.6 pct in June

Jul 15, 2009

WASHINGTON (AFP) — US retail sales rose for the second consecutive month in June, by 0.6 percent, Commerce Department data showed Tuesday 14 July in a report stronger than expected.

Shoppers in New York - Photo: AFP

Most analysts had expected a monthly increase of 0.4 percent.

The Commerce Department left unchanged May's 0.5 percent increase in retail sales from April.

The monthly retail sales data signal the direction of consumer spending, which accounts for two-thirds of output in the world's largest economy.

Excluding gasoline and motor vehicle and parts sales, retail sales fell for the fourth consecutive month, by 0.2 percent, after a 0.1 percent decline in May.

Gasoline sales led the rise in overall retail sales, surging 5.0 percent from May as prices at the pump increase.

Automobile and parts sales rose 2.3 percent in June, after a 0.5 percent gain in May.
On an annual basis, retail sales were 9.0 percent below the June 2008 level.
Amid a severe recession, retail sales have increased in only four of the past 12 months as wary consumers snap their wallets shut in the face of rising unemployment and falling home values.

"Retail sales in June took on a positive tone for the second consecutive month in aggregate, although the continued weakness in core sales dampened the positive message that the data convey," said Scott Hoyt of Moody's Economy.com.

"The bottom line, however, remains that sales are trending about flat. This is a dramatic improvement from the steady large declines of the second half of last year and encouraging in the face ongoing declines in employment and aggregate wage income."

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