Retail sales rose a seasonally 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.
Americans are paying more for food, gas and other goods, with prices jumping last month by the most in 13 years.
The Commerce Department said Friday that sales at bars and restaurants rose 2.3%. Clothing-store sales rose by 2.6%, and sales at electronics 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.