Washington — CE and appliance retailers shrugged off the traditional summer slump and bumped up sales 1.3 percent in July.
According to preliminary estimates by the U.S. Census Bureau, CE and majap sell-through totaled $8.8 billion last month, essentially flat from June, when adjusted for seasonal variations and holiday and trading day differences, but not for price changes.
Both months benefitted from the July 4 holiday period, one of the most contentious weekends on the majap promotional calendar.
Despite the year-over-year increase, the CE/majap channel trailed furniture and home-furnishings stores, which enjoyed a 2.5 percent boost, and e-tailers and other direct sellers, which saw sales rise 6 percent in July.
Total retail sales, excluding restaurants and auto dealers, were up 3.4 percent on top of last year’s strong showing.
According to the National Retail Federation (NRF), the July results reflect a cutback on discretionary spending as consumers choose between goods and services.
“Retailers right now are witnessing a choppy pattern of spending,” said Jack Kleinhenz, chief economist for the industry trade group. “Families today are still displaying behavior that shows they continue to struggle with purchase decisions, based on needs versus wants. It is also evident some consumers are cautious about leveraging up credit to support purchases.”
But overall, he said, “I still believe the economy and the consumer are headed in the right direction as consumer fundamentals such as positive income, employment and confidence remain relatively sturdy.”