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Americans spent less in July as COVID-19 cases surged

Retail Sales
Posted at 4:20 PM, Aug 17, 2021

NEW YORK (AP) — Americans cut back on their spending last month as a surge in COVID-19 cases kept people away from stores.

Retail sales fell a seasonal adjusted 1.1% in July from the month before, the U.S. Commerce Department said Tuesday.

It was a much larger drop than the 0.3% decline Wall Street analysts had expected.

The report is the first glimpse into whether a surge in COVID-19 cases in July has kept people from heading out to shop.

According to Tuesday's report, spending fell at stores that sell clothing, furniture, and sporting goods.

The Associated Press reported that spending rose nearly 2% at restaurants and bars, but the growth rate has plateaued due to people not coming out because of the surge in COVID cases.

The shift in spending, economists believe, may have occurred because prices have soared on food and appliances, the AP reported. They also believe that Americans have spent money on haircuts and vacations, not included in the report.

Online sales have also slowed, dipping 3.1% from the month before, the AP reported.