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US July retail sales volumes jump past forecasts

US July retail sales volumes jump past forecasts

Retail sales increased 2.5 percent in the second quarter from the same period a year ago, bucking a stretch of nine straight quarterly declines.

Michael Pearce, at Capital Economics, said: "Consumption began the third quarter on a strong footing". Internet-driven purchases probably received a boost from the spike in online shopping tied to Amazon.com's Prime Day event.

Wall Street shares ended Tuesday little changed, but the dollar rose on the back of strong retail sales figures.

The government had previously reported a 0.1% drop in core retail sales in June and a 0.2% decline in overall sales.

The so-called retail sales control group, which excludes automobiles, gasoline and building materials and feeds directly into the Commerce Department's quarterly GDP estimates, grew 0.6% (consensus: 0.4%).

"Consumer spending remains solid as retail sales saw healthy improvements in July and revised June numbers were also positive", NRF Chief Economist Jack Kleinhenz said.

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Retail sales for June and May also were revised higher, which should help to assuage concerns about consumer spending, But persistently sluggish wage growth has pushed Americans to dip into their savings to fund spending.

June sales grew 3 percent from the year-earlier month, beating expectations of a 1.9 percent increase.

Nonstore Retailers were up 11.5% from July 2016, while Building Materials and Garden Equipment and Supplies Dealers were up 8.3% from past year.

Economists have been expecting the US economy to pick up steam in the second half of the year and that view got some support from the latest retail sales report - with a bit of help from Amazon.

Excluding cars, retail sales still rose 0.5 per cent, while leaving out the volatile gasoline segment, sales were up 0.7 per cent. Sales rose 1.2% at home and garden centers and even 1% at department stores that have been losing ground to online rivals. Sales at clothing stores fell 0.2 per cent after rising 0.7 per cent in June.

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