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Economy in Brief

U.S. July Retail Sales Improved, June Revised Up
by Tom Moeller August 13, 2007

U.S. retail sales in July rose 0.3% after a 0.7% decline in June that was revised slightly shallower versus the initial report. The July figure compared with Consensus expectations for a 0.1% decline.

Excluding autos, retail sales rose 0.4% and more than reversed a 0.2% June decline that also was revised slightly shallower.The July increase was double Consensus expectations for a 0.2% increase.

Nonauto retail sales less gasoline rose 0.6% (5.2% y/y) after an unchanged June reading that was revised up from a 0.3% decline reported at first.

Sales of discretionary items were generally firm last month. Furniture, home furnishings & appliance stores recovered 0.8% (1.6% y/y of a 1.2% June decline that was half the shortfall initially estimated. Sales at general merchandise stores rose 0.9% (6.0% y/y) after rising a little revised 0.4% during the prior month.Apparel store sales rebounded 1.3% (5.8% y/y) following a 1.2% June drop that was little revised.

Building material sales during July rose 0.2% (0.4% y/y) but recovered just a piece of the prior month's little revised 2.2% plunge. Sales of nonstore retailers (internet & catalogue) rose 0.4% (7.3% y/y) after June's downwardly revised 0.6% increase and July restaurant & bar sales jumped 1.3% (8.0% y/y), double the prior month's rise.

Sales by motor vehicle & parts dealers fell 0.3% (-1.2% y/y) as unit sales of new vehicles fell 2.6% m/m in July.

Gasoline service station sales fell 0.8% reflecting a 3.0% m/m decline in gas prices at the pump to an average $2.97 per gallon (-0.5% y/y).

  July June Y/Y 2006 2005 2004
Retail Sales & Food Services 0.3% -0.7% 3.2% 6.2% 6.6% 6.1%
  Excluding Autos 0.4% -0.2% 4.4% 7.3% 7.6% 7.1%
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