Consumers spent less than expected in July as a boom in retail sales the month before cooled while efforts to reopen the economy stalled.
Retail sales rose 1.2% for the month, against the expected increase of 2.3% from economists surveyed by Dow Jones.
The news wasn’t all a letdown, however: Excluding autos, the gain was 1.9%, ahead of the 1.2% estimate.
Considered a bellwether for an economy that gets two-thirds of its activity from consumers, retail sales saw an 8.4% surge in June that included huge gains in furniture and appliance sales. However, those gains largely reversed themselves as a resurgence in Covid-19 cases caused reopening activities to slow.
Electronics and appliance sales saw monthly sales jump 22.9% while clothing increased 5.7% and bars and restaurants, an industry especially battered by the coronavirus, were up 5%.
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