CE and appliance retailers essentially held their ground last month as sales for the channel slipped less than 1 percent to $8.1 billion year over year, the U.S. Census Bureau reported.
According to the agency’s Advance Monthly Retail Trade Survey, the dip was more modest month over month, with total tech and majap sell-through down 0.5 percent from June.
In contrast, e-tailers and other direct sellers saw sales rise 11.5 percent from July 2016, while furniture and home-furnishings stores enjoyed a 5.6 percent lift.
Total retail sales, excluding food and auto, were up 4.3 percent, the strongest showing in months.
“Consumer spending remains solid as retail sales saw healthy improvements in July and revised June numbers were also positive,” said Jack Kleinhenz, chief economist at the National Retail Federation (NRF). “We have yet to see the full effect of back-to-school spending, but pickup in spending was evident both online and in general merchandise, which includes bricks-and-mortar department stores. Rising home values are encouraging home-improvement spending and home-related retail purchases.”
Kleinhenz noted that soft or declining prices for retail goods continue to hold down dollar volume despite higher unit sales last month.