Retail sales at sporting goods, hobby, book and music stores reached $7.50 billion in June on a seasonally adjusted basis, up 0.7 percent from May and 3.4 percent from June 2012, according to advance estimates by the U.S. Census Bureau. For the second quarter, sales rose 1.6 percent. For the second quarter, sales were down 1.2 percent from the first quarter and up 1.6 percent from the second quarter of 2012 

The advance estimates indicate the category grew substantially faster than the rate for general merchandise stores, which excludes sales by auto dealers, food stores and gas stations. Sales at general merchandize stores increased just 0.1 percent from May and 1.1 percent from June 2012.


The National Retailer Federation said the estimates show economic growth and acceleration weakened during the quarter.


“Consumers remain wary,” NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay said. “Even though healthy home prices and stock values are helping to improve confidence and spending, stagnantly-high unemployment, higher taxes and lingering policy uncertainty continue to keep shoppers and economic growth at bay. The recovery is solid and good but its pace remains measured and modest.”


The advance estimates, which are based on a smaller sample of national retailers than subsequent estimates, are adjusted for season variation and holiday and trading-day differences but not for price changes.


June sales of clothing and clothing accessories increased 0.7 percent from May and 4.8 percent from a year earlier. Department stores sales declined 1.0 percent from May and 5.1 percent from June 2012.


Sales by non-store retailers, which includes online and catalog retailers, increased 2.1 percent from May and 13.8 percent from June 2012. 


“The consumer economy is improving but growth rates and retail sales will remain reserved for the foreseeable future,” NRF Chief Economist Jack Kleinhenz said. “U.S. households have adjusted their spending to a slow-growth economy. With employment and consumer confidence improving, we expect that the second half will be better than the first.”