PURCHASE, N.Y. — Retail sales in the U.S. grew for the 11th consecutive month in July, according to Mastercard SpendingPulse, a survey that measures in-store and online retail sales across all forms of payment. Sales for the month increased 10.9% compared to July 2020.
That figure, which excludes automotive sales and gasoline, is nearly quadruple the average year-over-year growth in the month of July over the last four years, which was 2.9%. The MasterCard SpendingPulse study also found that the first of six monthly Child Tax Credit payments provided parents with an infusion of cash during the peak back-to-school shopping season, with the apparel (up 80% year-over-year and department store (up 44.8%) sectors seeing an uptick in sales for the month. The benefit was concentrated in the days immediately following the first distribution on July 15.
“Combined with greater savings and higher demand, the Child Tax Credit has provided a boost for families and is putting more money into retailers’ pockets,” said Bricklin Dwyer, Mastercard’s chief economist and head of the Mastercard Economics Institute, who added, “back to school shopping is back.”
Another finding was the return of the in-store shopper. In-stores sales making up 81.9% of total retail sales (excluding auto) for the month. According to Mastercard SpendingPulse, in-store sales were up 15.5% year-over-year in July and weekends experienced positive spikes in spending as a result of in-store shoppers returning to physical stores.
“While e-commerce continues to play an increasingly significant role for retail, nothing replaces the in-store experience,” said Steve Sadove, senior advisor for Mastercard and former CEO and chairman of Saks Inc. “July numbers reflect a return to the store. Consumers are shopping, spending and splurging across channels.”