Back in April, the news on the retail front was gloomy, to say the least, with sales plunging by a record 16.4 percent. But that was back when the COVID-19 pandemic first hit, triggering an epic economic collapse.
According to numbers from the U.S. Census Bureau, June saw total retail sales rise to $524.3 billion, up 7.5 percent from $487.7 billion in May. Total sales even went up by 1.1 percent in June compared to the same month the previous year. The new economic numbers provide an early estimate of monthly sales across various types of U.S. retail and foodservice firms.
In June, U.S. retail sales jumped up by 7.5 percent as the country reopened, with consumers returning to stores and restaurants. Clothing in particular saw a big rebound. Even big-ticket items made it to shoppers’ lists, as sales of motor vehicles, furniture, clothing and electronics all increased.
In April, sales at gasoline stations had dropped by 28.8 percent. In contrast, June saw spending on gasoline increase by 15.3 percent from the prior month as commuters went back to their workplaces.
In addition, sales at bars and restaurants jumped 20 percent from the previous month (May).
Despite the good news, there has been growing concern about the rise in coronavirus cases in many states.
The hot markets for full-on pandemic shopping did not fare so well in June: Online spending decreased 2.4 percent last month, and sales at grocery stores dropped 1.6 percent.
However, the Commerce Department said that “retail trade sales” were up 6.4 percent from May 2020, and 5 percent above last year.
Part of the bigger economic picture is that the U.S. economy has been pumped up by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act. This included the Paycheck Protection Program and improved and expanded unemployment benefits for laid-off workers.