Retail Sales Kick Off Third Quarter Strong

By at 15 August, 2018, 2:13 pm

Small Business Insider – The Economy

by Raymond J. Keating-

Retail industries overwhelmingly are about small business, so when retail sales are up, that’s a great small business story.

In fact, among retail trade employer firms in the U.S., 80.3 percent have fewer than 10 employees, 91.1 percent fewer than 20 workers, and 98.4 percent fewer than 100 employees, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

In July, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, retail and food service sales grew by 0.5 percent over June, beating market expectations, and were up by a robust 6.4 percent versus July 2017. When excluding autos and gas, retail sales grew by 0.6 percent over June, and by 5.6 percent compared to a year earlier.

Given that consumption expenditures account for some two-thirds of GDP, these retail sales numbers are a good start as we start looking at growth in the third quarter.

At the same time, it must be remembered that consumers ultimately are followers, taking their cues from business investment and hiring. And since investment has stepped up over the past year-and-a-half, and employment growth has continued, consumer confidence and spending has followed.

The Wall Street Journal reported that John Idol, CEO of the fashion company Michael Kors Holdings Ltd., declared, “The American consumer is healthy.” True. And the consumer is healthy because business investment has been healthy of late as well.


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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