The U.S. Census Bureau released a report showing an increase of 0.6% in retail trade sales for June when compared to May. Sales were up 6% when compared to June 2012.
The figures are adjusted for seasonal variation and holiday and trading-day differences, but not for price changes, and exclude automobiles, gas stations and restaurants.
Advance sales for businesses classified as "building material and garden equipment and supplies dealers" (NAICS 444) were $25.77 billion in June on an adjusted basis. That's down 2.2% from $26.35 billion in May, but up 9.4% from the same month one year ago.
The data also shows Americans are buying more cars and buying merchandise online. Non-store retailers were up 13.8% compared to a year ago. Auto and other motor vehicle dealers were up 12.9% compared to the same month last year.
The CEO of the National Retail Federation said things could be worse and better. "Consumers remain wary," said Matthew Shay. "Even though healthy home prices and stock values are helping to improve confidence and spending, stagnantly high unemployment, higher taxes and lingering policy uncertainty continue to keep shoppers and economic growth at bay. The recovery is solid and good but its pace remains measured and modest."