U.S. retail sales soar in July to 7-month high

U.S. retail sales soar in July to 7-month high

US retail sales advanced in July by the most this year, with widespread gains from department stores to building materials outlets that signal a robust start to consumer spending in the third quarter, according to Commerce Department figures released Tuesday.

The June level of retail sales is 4.2% higher than the same time a year earlier.

The dollar rose 0.6 percent to 110.26 yen, pulling away from a low of 108.72 yen set on Friday, its lowest level since April 19.

Sales at retailers nationwide jumped 0.6% last month, the government said Tuesday.

Nonstore Retailers were up 11.5% from July 2016, while Building Materials and Garden Equipment and Supplies Dealers were up 8.3% from a year ago. Sales rose 1.2% at home and garden centers and even 1% at department stores that have been losing ground to online rivals.

It has suggested that the economy has continued to increase momentum early in the third quarter.

Former world number one Sharapova handed US Open wildcard
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Consumer spending, which accounts for more than two-thirds of United States economic activity, increased at a 2.8 per cent annualised rate in the second quarter. Contributing $2.6 trillion to annual GDP, retail is a daily barometer for the nation's economy.

July's figure beat the consensus among economists of 0.4 per cent growth.

"Stronger retail sales puts the Fed back on track to hike in December", Chris Low of FTN Financial said in a research note. Prices could decline further as a separate report from the Labor Department on Tuesday showed the cost of imported motor vehicles fell in July for the second consecutive month.

Online and other non-store sales increased 1.3 percent seasonally adjusted over June and increased 11.4 percent unadjusted year-over-year.

Amazon's Prime Day helped boost US retail sales in July. There were also strong gains in sales at furniture stores, hardware stores and restaurants.

Excluding cars, retail sales still rose 0.5 per cent, while leaving out the volatile gasoline segment, sales were up 0.7 per cent.

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