Retail sales for the United States were up 5.7 percent in June compared to last year’s figures, at $422.8 billion, showing a slight uptick of 0.4 percent from a month earlier, said the Commerce Department on Monday.
The signs show positive continued growth in retail sales, as consumers continue to feel upbeat about an encouraging U.S. housing market, among other signs of a gradual recovery. Quarterly retail sales for April to June 2013 were up 4.6 percent from a year before.
Analysts polled by Briefing.com expected a 0.7 percent monthly increase in June, meaning that the June figures didn’t meet expectations. Analysts said the best motor vehicle and parts sales figures since 2007 should've helped to boost retail sales.
Excluding auto vehicles and parts, retail sales were stagnant from May 2013, not rising or falling enough to see a percentage change. In May 2013, this figure rose by 0.3 percent compared to April's figures. Auto sales and parts rose by 1.8 percent compared to a month earlier.
Significant income gains in recent months, analysts had predicted, would translate into greater consumption.
Barclays analyst Peter Newland wrote in a note that a plunge in sales of building materials partly explained the disappointing figures.
U.S. households are responding with some delay to tax hikes which took effect at the start of 2013, wrote Newland, who believes that Americans will consume more slowly in the second quarter of this year.
The latest figures come after excellent retail sales in May 2013, with the highest retail sales in three months. Positive jobs, household net worth and consumer confidence news were all also seen in May 2013.