Sales at US clothing stores fell month-on-month, but rose year-on-year

Sales at US clothing stores fell month-on-month, but rose year-on-year

June proved to be a mixed month for clothing sales in the US, slipping from May but rising on last year, as overall retail sales came in below expectations.

The latest figures from the US Commerce Department, which include cars, gasoline and restaurants, show retail sales fell 0.3% month-on-month, but edged up 0.6% from June last year.

Sales at clothing and clothing accessories stores fell 1.5% from May, but increased 1.9% year-on-year.

At general merchandise stores, sales climbed 0.7% month-on-month, and rose 1.2% from June last year. Department stores saw sales drop 0.6% from May, and were down 1.7% year-on-year.

Sales at sporting goods, hobby, book and music stores edged up 0.1% month-on-month, and grew 6.6% from June last year.

Separate data from the National Retail Federation (NRF) which excludes automobiles, gas stations and restaurants, shows retail sales dropped 0.2% seasonally adjusted month-to-month, but increased a solid 3.1% unadjusted year-over-year.

NRF chief economist Jack Kleinhenz expects retail sales to improve, supported by the US' healthy labour market, improving housing markets and easier access to consumer credit.

"While the weaker than expected report doesn’t match with current trends, there’s no reason to believe this is a continuing problem," he said. "Heading into the back-to-school season and through the remainder of the year, consumers should find the appetite to spend."

Kleinhenz added: "June’s weaker than expected results may also reflect the deflationary environment we’re seeing within retail, thereby pushing down top-line sales figures for retailers."