The retail sector received a boost as retail sales saw a seasonally adjusted increase of 0.2% last month, according to the Commerce Department. Although this growth rate matches that of June, it falls slightly short of the levels seen in April and May.
Officials in the Biden administration, including Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, have pointed to this robust data as a sign that the U.S. economy is on track to recover from the recent recession. However, some economists caution that while the month-over-month trends appear positive for the second quarter, the contraction in retail sales during February and March will impact the overall growth rate for the quarter. Bill Adams, chief economist at brokerage Comerica Bank, notes that this may make consumer spending in the second quarter appear softer when presented on a quarterly average basis.
Despite this concern, the Consumer Select Sector SPDR exchange-traded fund, which tracks the consumer-discretionary sector of the S&P 500, has seen a remarkable 37% increase year-to-date.
Notable developments within consumer companies include Sandra Cochran stepping down as Chief Executive of Cracker Barrel Old Country Store after 12 years, with Julie Felss Masino set to succeed her on Nov. 1. Additionally, Gucci Chief Executive Marco Bizzarri is leaving his position as part of a management shuffle at Kering, the luxury conglomerate that owns Gucci and several other fashion brands.