Retailers Had an Impressive June

Despite the weak consumer confidence numbers for June, retailers didn't suffer. Many reported their monthly sales today, and the results were surprisingly strong. The Wall Street Journal's Real Time Economics blog does a good job of summarizing some of the big names. Using its data, here's a comparison of April through June's year-over-year changes:

retail sales 2010-06 year-over-year.PNG

As you can see, all but a few retailers shown had better year-over-year sales growth in June than in May. But we all know that 2009 was a pretty terrible time for the economy. How does the month-over-month data compare? Here's the chart showing the change in April to May versus May to June:

retail sales 2010-06 month-over-month.PNG

Of course, there's seasonality to consider, but it's pretty obvious that June was much stronger than May, while May was virtually flat compared to April. If you take the average growth rates of each column, May's month-over-month increase was just 3%, while June's was 29%.

These results indicate that Americans were somewhat willing to spend in June, and certainly at a better pace than in May, when the economy appeared to have taken a small step back. This may foreshadow some positive indicators to come, since consumers may not have been as scared to spend as we thought.

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Daniel Indiviglio was an associate editor at The Atlantic from 2009 through 2011. He is now the Washington, D.C.-based columnist for Reuters Breakingviews. He is also a 2011 Robert Novak Journalism Fellow through the Phillips Foundation. More

Indiviglio has also written for Forbes. Prior to becoming a journalist, he spent several years working as an investment banker and a consultant.

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