Shoppers in the US cut their purchases even more than expected in July as concerns over the delta variant of Covid-19 dampened activity and government stimulus dried up.
Retail sales for the month were down 1.1%, worse than the Dow Jones estimate of a 0.3% decline.
Excluding autos, sales fell 0.4%, according to Commerce Department figures released Tuesday.
Markets initially reacted little to the news, with futures tied to the Dow Jones Industrial Average rising more than 200 points and government bond yields lower across the board.
Consumers make up nearly 70% of all business in the US, so retail sales are closely watched as a gauge of overall economic health.
Fueled by a series of government stimulus measures, shoppers helped push the economy out of the shortest recession in history, which lasted just two months from the first coronavirus fears in February 2020 to April, a month after fiscal and monetary authorities issued a series of unprecedented programs. to help the nation through the pandemic.
Although July saw a month-to-month decline, revenue of $617.7 billion still represented a 15.8% acceleration from the same time a year ago.
Most of the monthly decline came from auto and parts dealers, which were down 3.9%. The auto sector has been a major contributor to the rise in inflation in 2021, with used car prices skyrocketing due to increasing demand.
Clothing stores saw a 2.6% decline and sporting goods, musical instruments and bookstores were down 1.9%. Online sales also fell by 3.1%.
This is the latest news. Come back for updates.
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