WASHINGTON — The U.S. Census Bureau reported that July sales increased 0.5% to $390.4 billion, a positive sign for consumers and retailers whose outlook on the economy may have floundered after the stock market endured a turbulent week.
Compared with the year-ago period, the Census Bureau disclosed that retail sales jumped 8.5%. Similarly, retail trade sales also rose 0.5% for the month and 8.9% above July 2010.
Across retail sectors, sales at grocery stores rose nearly 0.6% to nearly $46.3 million, up from nearly $46.1 million in June; while health and personal care stores edged up slightly by 0.1% to about $22.9 million, compared with $22.8 million in June, the Census Bureau said.
Although advanced estimates for pharmacies and drug stores are not included in the report, the government agency disclosed that sales decreased from May to June, dropping 0.14% to about $19.1 million.
In related news, Deloitte reported that its Consumer Spending Index rose for the first time since January, reflecting a rise in home prices and a slight improvement in real wages.