U.S. retail sales stalled in July as discounting by merchants such as Macy’s Inc. (M) failed to counter the effects of feeble wage growth.
Purchases (RSTAMOM) were little changed, the weakest performance in six months, after a 0.2 percent advance in June, the Commerce Department said today in Washington. Gains in sales of clothing, groceries and personal-care goods were offset by declines at department, electronics and furniture stores.
Greater employment opportunities this year have yet to translate into the incomes needed to invigorate American consumers, a sign the economy will have trouble sustaining the second-quarter pickup in growth. Legions of long-term unemployed and discouraged workers are among the reasons wages aren’t picking up more quickly, giving Federal Reserve policy makers room to keep interest rates low.