July Retail Sales Increase Year-Over-Year for Back-to-School Season

According to the National Retail Federation (NRF), as back-to-school sales start, retail industry sales for July (excluding automobiles, gas stations, and restaurants) increased 3.1 percent unadjusted year-over-year. Retail industry sales also declined 0.2 percent seasonally adjusted month-to-month.

July retail sales released by the U.S. Commerce Department show that total retail sales (including non-general merchandise categories such as automobiles, gas stations, and restaurants) increased 0.4 percent seasonally adjusted from June and increased 5.4 percent unadjusted year-over-year.

Back-to-school related categories also saw year-over-year gains, according to the NRF. Clothing and accessories stores were up 4.7 percent over last July, but declined 0.7 percent from June. Electronics and appliance stores increased 8.1 percent year-over-year and declined 0.1 percent from last month. Furniture and home furnishing stores increased 0.4 percent from the same period a year ago and declined 0.3 percent from June.

A survey conducted by NRF, released in July, found that the average family of students in grades K-12 would spend $594.24 on back-to-school this year, an increase of 8.3 percent compared to $548.72 last year.

Hobby Store Game Sales Up

Game sales in hobby stores were up from 5 to 10 percent in 2009 despite the worst economy in generations, according to a report in the new issue of Internal Correspondence. The growth was driven by a resurgence in Magic: The Gathering sales and by board game sales up by double-digit percentages. Yu-Gi-Oh! and the return of HeroClix also helped support improved sales. Non-collectible miniature sales were slightly down, and RPG sales were down approximately 10 percent in 2009.

NPD Announces 2009 Toy Sales Results

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According to The NPD Group, U.S. retail sales of toys generated $21.47 billion in 2009 compared to $21.65 billion in 2008, a decline of less than 1 percent. In the fourth quarter of 2009 (October through December), although revenues were flat, unit sales were up 4 percent compared to the same period in 2008.

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