Consumer Spending Remains Robust: Mastercard

June retail sales rose, due to and despite inflation

By Alan Wolf, YSN

If the economic outlook is gloomy, consumers aren’t getting the message.

According to the latest research from Mastercard Spending Pulse, U.S. retail sales rose 6.1% in June from the same period last year, excluding the inflationary impact of car, gasoline and travel-related purchases.

The data reflects national retail sales across all forms of payment, including cash, checks and all payment card brands, Mastercard said.

While higher prices accounted for some of June’s increase, spending remained strong in discretionary categories like jewelry and luxury, the company reported.

Within BrandSource product sectors, sales of furniture and home furnishings were up 4.2% year-over-year in June, and ahead 21.5% compared to the pre-pandemic period of June 2019.

On the appliance and electronics side, June retail sales rose 4.6% year-over-year and 16.1% over the June 2019 tally.

Related: How to Turn Inflation in Your Favor

The research also revealed a resurgence of in-store shopping. In-store spending was up 11.7% in June while online sales grew at a more modest 1.1% clip — although e-commerce revenue was double June 2019 levels.

“Sector by sector, we’re seeing a varied picture of how inflation is impacting essential vs. discretionary consumer spending,” said Steve Sadove, senior advisor for Mastercard and former chairman/CEO of Saks Inc.

The sales data dovetailed with last week’s encouraging Labor Department report, which pointed to the addition of 372,000 jobs in June and historically low 3.6% unemployment — all good indicators of a U.S. economic recovery.

BrandSource, a unit of YSN publisher AVB Inc., is a nationwide buying group for independent appliance, furniture, mattress and CE dealers.