US Retail Sales in the U.S. rose more than forecast in July as consumer spending rebounded at department stores, auto dealers and electronics outlets, easing some concern the biggest part of the economy was foundering.
The 0.8 percent advance, the first gain in four months, followed a 0.7 percent decrease in June that was weaker than first reported, Commerce Department figures showed today in Washington. Economists projected a 0.3 percent rise, according to the median forecast in a Bloomberg survey. Sales excluding automobiles also climbed 0.8 percent.
Improved sales at merchants such as Gap Inc. and TJX Cos. indicate American households are looking beyond the global economic slowdown as hiring improves. At the same time, joblessness in excess of 8 percent is keeping consumer spending from surging, consistent with the Federal Reserveâ€™s view that economic growth will â€œremain moderate over coming quarters.â€
â€œWeâ€™re looking for consumption to pick up,â€ said Michael Carey, chief economist for North America at Credit Agricole CIB in New York. â€œThere was improved consumer confidence in July plus job gains that were a little better than expected, which is certainly constructive for the household outlook.â€
Stock-index futures extended gains after the figures. The contract on the Standard & Poorâ€™s 500 Index expiring in September rose 0.3 percent to 1,406.5 at 8:48 a.m. in New York.
Retail sales, which climbed the most since February, were projected to rise following Juneâ€™s previously reported 0.5 percent drop, according to the Bloomberg survey. Estimates from the 85 economists surveyed ranged from a decrease of 0.2 percent to a gain of 0.8 percent.