Sales at retail and food service businesses declined slightly in June, thanks to a drop in consumer spending.
According to the latest figures from the U.S. Census Bureau, retail and food services had sales of $360.2 billion, a decrease of 0.5 percent – though that number is within the margin of error – from May. The figure, however, is a 4.8 percent increase from the same month last year.
The Census Bureau said that retail and food services increased significantly for the quarter, despite the June losses. Sales were 6.8 percent higher than they were in the same quarter of last year.
According to a report from the Wall Street Journal, most economists were not surprised by the losses in sales. Consumer spending declined, they said, because of a combination of volatility in the stock market and the continued elevated levels of unemployment.
One economist said that the underlying numbers showed this decline was a long time coming because "household balance sheets [are] still over-leveraged," and that’s the largest determining factor in consumer spending growth.