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

Americans spent more last month on clothing and dining out as the economy opened up amid fewer pandemic-related restrictions

Americans spent more last month on clothing, electronics and dining out as the economy opened up and pandemic-related restrictions were lifted.

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.

Spending has slowed since March, when stimulus checks sent to most Americans caused a surge in shopping. And as Americans get vaccinated, they are spending less on goods and more on hotels, haircuts and other services, which are not included in Friday’s report.

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

The Commerce Department said Friday that sales at bars and restaurants rose 2.3%. Clothing store sales rose by 2.6%, and sales at electronic shops were up 3.3%.

Furniture sales fell the most, down 3.6% in June. Sales also fell at auto dealerships and home improvement stores.

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