June Sales Increase as Retail Recovery Continues; National Retail Federation's Matthew Shay and Jack Kleinhenz Discuss
WASHINGTON, DC - Although the pandemic is still not over, a light is visible at the end of the tunnel as post-lockdown becomes more of a viable reality. Through these challenging times, one sector that has made innovative pushes to overcome the hurdles placed in its path was retail, as evidenced by the National Retail Federation’s (NRF) recent release detailing the solid growth the industry is seeing as it moves toward recovery.
“Continued growth in June retail sales shows enduring strength in the American consumer," President and Chief Executive Officer Matthew Shay said. “Heading into the back-to-school season, we expect record sales…However, as the drop in monthly auto sales indicates, retailers are facing product shortages and supply chain constraints. We urge Congress and the administration to enact meaningful, bipartisan infrastructure legislation that is critical for retailers who depend on a safe, reliable, and efficient transportation system to drive further economic growth.”
Based on the data presented by the NRF, grocery and beverage stores were up 0.6 percent month-over-month seasonally adjusted and up 3.7 percent unadjusted year-over-year for the month of June. With fresh produce more important than ever and the push by consumers for more healthy products at retail, it leads us to wonder how the amplified popularity of fruits and vegetables in-store will continue to impact these increases?
In addition to data released by NRF, the U.S. Census Bureau also revealed that retail sales in June were up 0.6 percent seasonally adjusted from May and up 18 percent year-over-year, as compared to a decrease of 1.7 percent month-over-month and an increase of 27.6 percent year-over-year in May.
Year-over-year increases were unusually high this spring because many stores were closed by the pandemic during those months in 2020. However, some stores had started to reopen by last June. Despite occasional month-over-month declines, sales have grown year-over-year every month since June 2020.
“We’re continuing to see an impressive recovery,” NRF Chief Economist Jack Kleinhenz explained. “The economy and consumption are particularly sensitive to government policy, and the boost we saw from government support earlier in the year is continuing to show benefits. Reopening of both stores and the overall economy has progressed, and even higher prices seen in some retail categories reflecting the push-and-pull of supply chain challenges haven’t proven to be a deterrent to spending. As more people get vaccinated and get out, some of the growth will shift to services rather than retail but there’s enough momentum to support both.”
NRF’s calculation of retail sales, excluding automobile dealers, gas stations, and restaurants to focus on core retail, showed June was up 0.8 percent seasonally adjusted from May and up 12.1 percent unadjusted year-over-year. That compares with a month-over-month decline of 1.9 percent and a year-over-year increase of 16.5 percent in May. NRF’s numbers were up 19.3 percent unadjusted year-over-year on a three-month moving average.
Throughout the first half of 2021, sales were up 16.4 percent over the same period as in 2020. As the rate of growth is expected to slow in the second half of the year, that aligns with NRF’s previous revised forecast that showed retail sales increasing between 10.5 percent and 13.5 percent over 2020, placing the industry between $4.44 trillion and $4.56 trillion.
With summer sparking a rise in activities from consumers and the advent of back-to-school season bringing about the shopper search for convenient, healthy, on-the-go products for their children, how will fresh produce continue to play a vital part in the rise of retail recovery? Keep reading AndNowUKnow for answers.