mostlycloudy
Sunday May 24th, 2015 9:15AM

Retail sales tick up just 0.2 percent in June

By The Associated Press
WASHINGTON (AP) -- U.S. retail sales increased slightly in June, evidence that consumers remain cautious despite steady job gains this year.<br /> <br /> Retail sales rose just 0.2 percent last month, the Commerce Department said Tuesday, held back by a sharp drop at building materials and garden supply stores. Sales also fell at restaurants and at auto dealers.<br /> <br /> The figures suggest that Americans are reluctant to spend freely, which could slow growth in the April-June quarter. While employers have stepped up hiring since January, wage growth remains weak and is barely keeping up with inflation. Retail sales are closely watched because consumer spending accounts for 70 percent of the economy.<br /> <br /> Still, there were some good signs: A measure of retail sales that excludes volatile categories such as gasoline and autos rose at a solid 0.6 percent clip. Clothing stores, sporting goods stores and department stores all recorded sales gains. And a category that includes online and catalog retailers jumped 0.9 percent in June and has increased 8.1 percent in the past 12 months. That's nearly double the 4.3 percent growth in overall retail sales in the past year.<br /> <br /> Sales at auto dealers fell 0.3 percent, which contradicts strong data released by the automakers themselves earlier this month. The automakers had said sales reached an eight-year high in June. The two sets of data can sometimes conflict on a month-to-month basis.<br /> <br /> Retail sales were revised higher in May to 0.5 percent from 0.3 percent, and in April to 0.6 percent from 0.5 percent.<br /> <br /> The data may raise concerns that the economy did not bounce back in the April-June quarter as strongly as many analysts hoped. The economy shrank 2.9 percent at an annual rate in the first three months of the year, largely because of cold weather.<br /> <br /> Many economists have already cut their forecasts for the second quarter because they don't expect consumers to spend at a healthy pace. According to a survey by the National Association for Business Economics, analysts now forecast growth of 3 percent at an annual rate. That's down from a forecast of 3.5 percent a month earlier.<br /> <br /> The economists surveyed expect consumer spending will grow at just a 2.3 percent pace in the April-June quarter, down from their June forecast of 2.9 percent. Spending rose just 1 percent in the first quarter, the smallest increase in four years.<br /> <br /> Several retailers have reported disappointing sales in the past month. Family Dollar, the Container Store and the Gap have all blamed falling sales on consumer caution. The CEO of the Container Store said the chain has been hurt by a "retail funk."<br /> <br /> Yet some other stores reported healthy sales gains, including the discount club chain Costco and grocery chain Kroger's.<br /> <br /> Purchases of large items like autos may be leaving many Americans with less money to spend on discretionary items like clothes and electronics. Rising grocery prices have likely also squeezed household budgets.<br /> <br /> Still, employers are hiring at a healthy pace, which may give Americans more confidence to spend. Employers have added an average of 230,000 jobs a month in the first half of this year, up from 194,000 a month in 2013. That's knocked the unemployment rate down to 6.1 percent, the lowest in nearly six years.
© Copyright 2015 AccessNorthGa.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Judge denies motions to move, delay Tsarnaev trial
Lawyers for Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev asked a federal appeals court Wednesday to overturn a judge's decision to not move his upcoming trial out of state.
10:02PM ( 4 months ago )
High court to adopt electronic filing of cases
The Supreme Court is belatedly developing an electronic filing system similar to those used in courts around the country, Chief Justice John Roberts said Wednesday in his annual end-of-year report.
7:57PM ( 4 months ago )
Storm brings snow, cold to West for New Year's
A blustery winter storm dumped snow and ice across the West on Wednesday, making driving treacherous in the mountains from California to the Rockies and forcing residents and party-goers in some usually sun-soaked cities to bundle up for a frosty New Year's.
5:19PM ( 4 months ago )
U.S. News
State DOT awards $48M contract for NE Ga. road project
The state Department of Transportation has awarded a $47.8 million contract for nine miles of work on a northeast Georgia road.
9:37AM ( 4 months ago )
Business News
Grass fire impacts rush hour traffic on 985
Rush hour traffic on I-985 was slowed by a grass fire Wednesay afternoon with one lane closed while firefighters fought the blaze.
10:19PM ( 4 months ago )
Hall County conviction, sentencing to be reviewed by SCOGA
The State Supreme Court has agreed to hear the appeal of a Hall County man when they reconvene in January.
2:37PM ( 4 months ago )
Maysville man dies from Banks County wreck
The Georgia State Patrol reports that alcohol and/or drugs were factors a single-vehicle wreck that claimed the life of a Maysville man in Banks County Tuesday night.
11:07AM ( 4 months ago )
Local/State News
US rejects nuclear disarmament document over Israel concerns
UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The United States on Friday blocked a global document aimed at ridding the world of nuclear weapons, saying Egypt and other states tried to "cynically manipulate" the process by...
9:33PM ( 1 day ago )
Obama again avoids calling 1915 Armenian killings 'genocide'
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama will once again stop short of calling the 1915 massacre of Armenians a genocide, prompting anger and disappointment from those who have been pushing him to ful...
1:00PM ( 1 month ago )
Ex-NFL star Hernandez convicted of murder, sentenced to life
FALL RIVER, Mass. (AP) — Former New England Patriots star Aaron Hernandez was convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to life in prison Wednesday for a deadly late-night shooting, sealing the d...
8:54PM ( 1 month ago )
Clinton kicks off 2016 campaign online, heads next to Iowa
WASHINGTON (AP) — Hillary Rodham Clinton jumped back into presidential politics on Sunday, making a much-awaited announcement she will again seek the White House with a promise to serve as the "champi...
7:56PM ( 1 month ago )
Hall, White, Jefferson schools recognized nationally for use of technology
Three school districts in northeast Georgia - Hall, White, and Jefferson - have received national recognition for their use use of innovative technologies. They earned top spots in the Center for Digital Education's and the National School Boards Association's 10th annual Digital School Districts Survey.
By Staff
1:00PM ( 1 month ago )