Bars and restaurants ring up big business in June and lead rebound in U.S. retail sales

The numbers: Sales at U.S. retailers rebounded in June as Americans flocked to bars and restaurants and bought the latest summer fashions, pointing to an accelerating U.S. economy.

Retail sales increased 0.6% last month in a much better showing than Wall Street had expected. Economists polled by The Wall Street Journal forecast a 0.4% decline.

Sales had tumbled 1.7% in May.

Retail sales are now up 18% in the past year and easily exceed pre-pandemic levels.

The biggest change is what Americans are spending their money on. Households are still buying plenty of goods, but they have shifted their spending toward services they avoided during the pandemic. Dining out, entertainment, travel, vacation trips and so forth.

Take bars and restaurants, the only category in the monthly retail report that involves services. Sales jumped 2.3% in June, the government said Friday, and rose sharply for the fourth…

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