July was a strong month for U.S. retail.
Sales were up 5.4 percent year-over-year, according to data released Thursday by the International Council of Shopping Centers.
That increase was particularly impressive given that sales rose 4.2 percent in July 2013, which created a “tough comparison” for this year, said Jesse Tron, council spokeswoman.
“Sales posted an even stronger than expected pace this month, a very positive sign for retailers as we begin the back-to-school shopping season,” Tron said in a statement. “The July 2014 trend is probably even stronger than the reported number given how strong last July was.”
Nearly 60 percent of the respondents to the council’s back-to-school survey reported that they expect to have most of their purchases completed by the end of this month, meaning the strong national sales trend should continue.
The council has approximately 66,000 members in more than 100 countries. It is the premier global trade association for the shopping center industry.