How Retail Spending Heated Up In June

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Costco was one of the retailers that saw sales rise faster than expected in June, which is the second biggest shopping month of the year. (Larry Downing / Reuters)

Consumer sentiment may have dropped to a seven-month low in June. But wallets are sending a different message.

Retail chains have reported same-stores sales figures that far exceeded the expectations of analysts. The Thomson Reuters Same-Stores Sales Index rose 6.5% in June, far exceeding the 4.9% gain that analysts estimated. Winners include Costco (14% rise in same-store sales, versus a 12.7% estimate), Saks (11.9%, versus 7%), and Limited, which completely crushed expectations. June sales rose 12 percent in June at the women’s apparel chain, while analysts forecast a meager 3.8% increase. Stein Mart, JC Penney, and Walgreens were the only stores that fell short of analyst expectations.

We shouldn’t get too excited about these numbers. Retailers often cut prices in June to clear room for back-to-school and fall merchandise. Still, when we’re barraged with messages that consumers are fretting about unemployment and prone to cut back, possibly sending the economy into another tailspin, it’s always nice to hear money talk.