Washington - Seasonally adjusted sales at CE and appliance stores edged up 0.9 percent last month over May, according to the U.S. Commerce Department's monthly retail sales tally.
The month-over-month increase was the first since February, and bested May's 0.9 percent decline and the 0.8 percent decrease reported for April.
Nevertheless, a year-over-year comparison shows that adjusted sales for the CE/majap specialty channel fell 11.5
percent from June 2008.
Total retail sales, excluding restaurants, gas stations and car dealers, fell 6 percent year over year, and slipped 0.2 percent from May.
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"Although several economic indicators are starting to show signs of improvement, it is going to take a few more months - maybe longer - for people to feel comfortable spending again," said Rosalind Wells, chief economist of the National Retail Federation (NRF), the retail trade association. "High unemployment and other uncertainties will continue to impact consumer spending through the remainder of this quarter."
Credit Suisse retail analyst Gary Balter said the sales declines also reflect difficult comparisons to 2008, when government-issued stimulus checks helped boost consumer spending.
The decline at CE/majap stores may also reflect the loss of some of Circuit City's business to mass merchants and e-tailers, which are not included in the Commerce Department's CE/majap category, Balter said.