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Sales At CE/Majap Stores Up 1% In June

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.

“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.