The summer solstice brought relief to retailers who’d waited through spring for an uptick in their weekly sales.

According to The Retail Economist LLC-Goldman Sachs Weekly Chain Store Sales Index, sales in the week ended June 27 rose 2.7 percent over the comparable 2014 week and 2.2 percent over the prior week. The year-over-year improvement was the best since the week of May 23, when the metric increased 3 percent, and the sequential improvement the highest since the week of March 28, when sales were up 3.4 percent.

Combining the two figures showed a 4.9 percent gain, the highest since the 6.3 percent increase of the week of March 28.

Michael Niemira, chief economist and principal of The Retail Economist, “The late month spurt in sales was encouraging, though the performance was uneven by retail segment.”

He noted that recent uncertainty in the worldwide economy, with a likely default by Greece today and Puerto Rico’s debt problem, “have negatively affected the U.S. financial markets in the current week which, in turn, is likely to hurt consumer confidence and curb spending in the near term.”

By segment, business remained strong at furniture stores last week, with office, discount and dollar stores all showing signs of improvement. Apparel, drug, electronics and online-only stores, as well as wholesale clubs, remain challenged.

Weather-induced shopping likely helped results with temperatures 2.1 degrees warmer than last year, and 2.7 degrees above their long-term average, according to Weather Trends International.

Meanwhile, the recent rise in the price of gasoline took a hiatus, falling for the second consecutive week and, despite recent upward elevation, sitting 24.4 percent below year-ago levels at $2.801 a gallon, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

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