Good Numbers on Retail Sales

By at 15 August, 2017, 8:17 pm

by Raymond J. Keating-

It’s worth noting that compared to a year earlier, July retail sales were up by 4.2 percent.

The Census Bureau’s advanced look at July retail sales, along with positive revisions for June, make for a positive take on the consumer.

In July, retail sales increased by 0.6 percent, which basically doubled market expectations. In addition, a decline of 0.2 percent for June was revised up to a gain of 0.3 percent.

Also, excluding the auto sector, sales were up 0.5 percent in July, and motor vehicles grew by 1.2 percent.

Finally, it’s worth noting that compared to a year earlier, July retail sales were up by 4.2 percent. That’s a pretty solid increase.

Looking at the recent trend (see Chart 1 below), after being sluggish from February 2015 to September 2016, retail sales growth took a step up over the period from October 2016 to January 2017, and then slowed from February to May. Now, we’ve seen growth revised up for June and a solid July.

A continuation of this growth trend will be very positive for the economy and small businesses. Sustained momentum is what has been missing over the past five years or more, with the issue of challenging sales and revenue growth being a top concern for small businesses. Let’s hope we have turned the corner.


Raymond J. Keating is chief economist for the Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council.

Keating’s latest book published by SBE Council is titled Unleashing Small Business Through IP:  The Role of Intellectual Property in Driving Entrepreneurship, Innovation and Investment and it is available free on SBE Council’s website here.


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