NRF: U.S. consumers spending tax rebates on essentials
Despite the influx of tax rebates in June, U.S. consumer spending remained soft for the month, according to the National Retail Federation.
The NRF said retail industry sales for June (which exclude automobiles, gas stations and restaurants) rose 1.3 percent unadjusted over last year and increased 0.2 percent seasonally adjusted month-to-month. The June retail sales (which include non-general merchandise categories such as autos, gasoline stations and restaurants) released by the U.S. Commerce Department were up 1 percent unadjusted year-over-year and increased 0.1 percent seasonally adjusted from the previous month.
The NRF said the figures are proof that consumers are focusing on necessities adding that health and personal care stores sales remained solid, increasing 2.7 percent unadjusted year-over-year. Additionally, sales at general merchandise stores increased 4.8 percent unadjusted from last year, while food and beverage stores sales were up 3.1 percent annually.
'Many consumers have been practical with their tax rebate checks, using them to offset higher prices of gas and food,' said NRF Chief Economist Rosalind Wells. 'As retailers enter the back to school season, they will have to be creative in finding ways to get consumers to spend on discretionary items.'