“BRIGHT” does not only describe the popular coloured jeans currently available in stores, but also perhaps the outlook for retail sales in America, which rose by 0.8% in July. Although a relatively small rise, it was higher than the consensus forecast, and the first increase since March. According to the Commerce Department, all 13 major retail categories showed growth. Stores selling furniture, sporting goods, hobby items, books and music, and food and beverage items did particularly well.
. Increased employment (payrolls rose by 163,000 in July, the most in five months) has supported sales growth, adding to the number of consumers with paychecks and disposable income. But America’s recovery is still sluggish and consumer credit growth weak. With consumer spending at around 70% of GDP (spending on goods is around 25%) economists and retailers alike will be looking for strong back-to-school sales in August.