US retail sales rose 0.6% in June, better than decline seen

US & World

(AP) — Americans spent more last month on clothing, electronics and dining out as the economy opened up and there were fewer pandemic-related restrictions.

U.S. retail sales rose a seasonal adjusted 0.6% in June from the month before, the U.S. Commerce Department said Friday. The increase was a surprise to Wall Street analysts, who had expected sales to fall slightly last month.

Retail sales growth has slowed since March, when stimulus checks sent to most Americans helped boost spending. And as Americans get vaccinated, they have spent less on goods and more on hotels, haircuts and other services, which are not included in Friday’s report.

The increase last month could be due to higher prices, said Paul Ashworth, chief U.S. economist for consulting firm Capital Economics.

Americans are paying more for food, gas and other goods, with prices jumping last month by the most in 13 years.

Sales at bars and restaurants rose 2.3%, according to Friday’s report. Clothing store sales rose by 2.6%, and sales at electronic shops were up 3.3%.

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