This Day On The Street
Continue to site
This account is pending registration confirmation. Please click on the link within the confirmation email previously sent you to complete registration.
Need a new registration confirmation email? Click here

July Retail Sales Disappoint (Update 1)

Updated from 9:01 am ET.

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- U.S. food and retail sales inched 0.2% higher in July from June to $424.5 billion, according to the latest Commerce Department figures released on Tuesday, below Wall Street expectations of a 0.3% rise, according to Thomson Reuters.

Last month's retail sales numbers were 5.4% above retail sales in July 2012, the data said.

Retail sales excluding gas, autos and building materials rose 0.5% vs. the 0.3% growth estimate, according to Thomson Reuters. Some observers say the figure is encouraging given its gauge of overall consumer spending.

However, Sterne Agee chief economist Lindsey Piegza is still cautious.

"The effects of tax increases often take time to filter into consumers' long-run spending patterns, and with government furloughs taking effect coupled with modest employment gains and minimal income growth, there is plenty of cause for caution," Piegza writes in a note. "While positive, this morning's retail sales report was far from robust, and not yet enough to eradicate fears of a consumer slowdown undermining growth in the second half of the year."

Sales for motor vehicle and parts dealers fell 1% in July from June, but were still 11.8% above last year's numbers.

Sales at non-store retailers rose 8.8% from a year earlier vs. the 13.8% gain the month before.

Total sales for the May through July 2013 period were up 5.2% over the same period a year ago. The Commerce Department revised the May to June 2013 sales growth to a 0.6% rise from 0.4%.

Furniture and home furnishings retailers, electronics and appliance stores as well as building material and garden equipment also saw sales declines last month.

A bright spot in the somewhat dismal report: sporting goods, hobby, book and music stores saw 1% rise in sales last month from June. Clothing and accessories stores saw a 0.9% gain from June.

"Spending has stalled and the economy is stuck in neutral," National Retail Federation Chief Economist said in a statement. "Even with modest employment gains and steady consumer confidence, Americans remain in a cautiously-positive spending pattern. While clothing and sporting goods retailers saw modest gains with early back-to-school shopping, home-based retailers saw marked decreases, possibly indicating the end of the year-long housing boom. This month's retail sales report will make any decision on tapering that much harder for policymakers in D.C."

Retail stocks were mixed on Tuesday.

J.C. Penney (JCP - Get Report) shares were falling 2.4% to $12.85 after activist investor Bill Ackman resigned from the struggling department store's board of directors after making contentious accusations at the company over the past several days. Ackman still owns roughly 18% of J.C. Penney shares, but observers are concerned he might look to exit out of those shares at once.

July monthly same-store sales at chain retailers came in softer than expected last week, further strengthening the argument that the back-to-school selling season, one of the largest selling periods in the year and an indicator as to how the holiday season might shape up, will be disappointing.

"The early back-to-school reads have been OK not great," retail consultant Jan Rogers Kniffen told TheStreet. "As we get closer into back-to- school, because back-to-school builds now right through Labor Day, I think we're going to see strengthening. Retailers are very well managed on their inventories. Wal-Mart (WMT - Get Report) [is] very well set up for back-to-school. Target's (TGT - Get Report) done a nice job getting ready for back-to-school. Macy's (M - Get Report) does a huge business in their ... teen business for back-to-school are all really well positioned. It's not going to be the disaster people talk about."

-- Written by Laurie Kulikowski in New York.

To contact Laurie Kulikowski, send an email to:

>To submit a news tip, email:

Follow TheStreet on Twitter and become a fan on Facebook.
Disclosure: TheStreet's editorial policy prohibits staff editors, reporters and analysts from holding positions in any individual stocks.

Check Out Our Best Services for Investors

Action Alerts PLUS

Portfolio Manager Jim Cramer and Director of Research Jack Mohr reveal their investment tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.

Product Features:
  • $2.5+ million portfolio
  • Large-cap and dividend focus
  • Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
Quant Ratings

Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.

Product Features:
  • Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
  • Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
  • A custom stock screener
Stocks Under $10

David Peltier uncovers low dollar stocks with serious upside potential that are flying under Wall Street's radar.

Product Features:
  • Model portfolio
  • Stocks trading below $10
  • Intraday trade alerts
14-Days Free
Only $9.95
14-Days Free
Dividend Stock Advisor

David Peltier identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.

Product Features:
  • Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
  • Updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
Trifecta Stocks

Every recommendation goes through 3 layers of intense scrutiny—quantitative, fundamental and technical analysis—to maximize profit potential and minimize risk.

Product Features:
  • Model Portfolio
  • Intra Day Trade alerts
  • Access to Quant Ratings
Real Money

More than 30 investing pros with skin in the game give you actionable insight and investment ideas.

Product Features:
  • Access to Jim Cramer's daily blog
  • Intraday commentary and news
  • Real-time trading forums
Only $49.95
14-Days Free
14-Days Free
JCP $6.99 0.00%
M $39.25 0.00%
TGT $69.95 0.00%
WMT $66.18 0.00%
AAPL $93.99 0.00%


Chart of I:DJI
DOW 15,973.84 +313.66 2.00%
S&P 500 1,864.78 +35.70 1.95%
NASDAQ 4,337.5120 +70.6750 1.66%

Free Reports

Top Rated Stocks Top Rated Funds Top Rated ETFs