July retail sales a bright spot for carriers

The Commerce Department said today that retail sales, excluding automobiles, rebounded in July, which good news for carriers which ship to electronics, furniture and department stores. Sales rose 0.2%, excluding autos, and reversed a 0.2% June decline. The department said consumers also spent more at health care stores, sporting goods outlets and restaurants. Analysts say consumer spending, which

The Commerce Department said today that retail sales, excluding automobiles, rebounded in July, which good news for carriers which ship to electronics, furniture and department stores. Sales rose 0.2%, excluding autos, and reversed a 0.2% June decline.

The department said consumers also spent more at health care stores, sporting goods outlets and restaurants. Analysts say consumer spending, which accounts for two-thirds of the economy, may accelerate in coming months as the bulk of the government's mailings of advance tax refund checks totaling $38 billion reaches consumers. However, the department said the tax refund checks probably had little effect on the July retail sales figures.

Sales of furniture, home furnishings, and equipment rose 0.4% in July after rising 0.2% in June. Electronics and appliance store sales increased 0.7% in July after rising 1.8% the month before.

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and Home Depot Inc. said fiscal second-quarter earnings rose as low prices attracted consumers, while a decline in catalog sales led to a loss at J.C. Penney Co.

Net income rose 1.6% at Wal-Mart, the biggest retailer, and a better-than-expected 10%at Home Depot, the No. 3 US merchant. J.C. Penney's loss was $69 million, compared with net income of $23 million in the year-earlier quarter.

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