Retail trade sales increased over 13 percent in July 2021 compared to last year but dropped compared to June, showing a bigger decline than many analysts expected. Dining establishments showed healthy increases in July, but concerns about rising COVID cases may dampen consumer spending and willingness to shop and dine in public settings. The University of Michigan Consumer Sentiment Index dropped to 70.2, reaching a two-year low.

In the coming weeks entering fall, it will be worth watching how the recent rise in COVID cases will change consumer spending. The environment is fluid, and retailers need to know their shoppers’ preferences when it comes to what they want to buy and, equally important, HOW they want to shop.

Download the August retail and consumer summary.