This morning, the U.S. Department of Commerce published its monthly retail sales report. A sneak peek for investors before earnings are released, this report paves the way for a positive quarter for retail. Ditch your Ouija board and read below to connect the dots between macroeconomic analysis and your portfolio's performance.
What goes down must go up
In what was expected to be another month of measly sales, the retail sector surprised analysts by rising 0.8%. In the largest increase in six months, sales for all components improved significantly. Seasonally adjusted earnings paint an even brighter picture, with sales up 3.7% from last June.
Online shines, clothing folds
Some of the biggest winners for July are nonstore retailers, up 11.8% in the past month. This component makes up less than a tenth of all retail sales -- but has been kicking retail's tail for the past six months. While department stores, gasoline stations, and electronics stores have been stuck in the red, all other subsectors have seen positive sales over the past couple months.
We've seen Amazon.com
Start your engines
Auto sales jumped in the past quarter, rising 8.7% since May. Automotive innovators like natural gas engine manufacturer Westport Innovations
There be dragons!
July's retail sales report comes as a relief to a market and economy plagued with bad news, but take heed, ye of macroeconomic faith: Macro trends are no replacement for careful company analysis.
Nonstore retail sales might be on the rise, but Groupon's
July has been a good month, but pulling back, it has been tough times for consumers and retailers alike. The Motley Fool has prepared a special free report outlining exactly what you need to know about the changing face of retail. It's as free as this article and available for a limited time only, so grab yours today.
Fool contributor Justin Loiseau has no material interest in any companies mentioned in this article, but he did use Groupon to get cheap tickets to a Nationals game. You can follow him on Twitter, @TMFJLo, and on Motley Fool CAPS, @TMFJLo.
The Motley Fool owns shares of Tesla Motors, Westport Innovations, and Amazon.com. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Tesla Motors, Amazon.com, and Westport Innovations. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.
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