July's total retail sales edged up 0.4% (�0.5%) from the prior month, but surged 6.9% (�0.7%) above last year�€�s numbers, according to advance reports issued by the U.S. Census Bureau.

Specifically, the report indicated that Sporting Goods, hobby, book and music store business grew 5.2% to $7.24 billion from $7.22 billion in the year-ago period, as adjusted.

Compared to the prior month, sales to the segment were essentially flat. Among other results, advance estimates of U.S. retail and food services sales for July, adjusted for seasonal variation and holiday and trading-day differences, but not for price changes, were $362.7 billion, an increase of 0.4%  (�0.5%)from the previous month, and 5.5% (�0.5%) above July 2009. Total sales for the May through July 2010 period were up 5.9% (�0.3%) from the same period a year ago