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Child tax credit, in-store shoppers drive July sales gain

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PURCHASE, N.Y. — Retail sales in the U.S. grew for the 11th consecutive month in July, according to Mastercard SpendingPulse, a survey that measures in-store and online retail sales across all forms of payment. Sales for the month increased 10.9% compared to July 2020.

That figure, which excludes automotive sales and gasoline, is nearly quadruple the average year-over-year growth in the month of July over the last four years, which was 2.9%. The Mastercard SpendingPulse study also found that the first of six monthly Child Tax Credit payments provided parents with an infusion of cash during the peak back-to-school shopping season, with the apparel (up 80% year over year) and department store (up 44.8%) sectors seeing an uptick in sales for the month. The benefit was concentrated in the days immediately following the first distribution on July 15.

Another finding was the return of the in-store shopper, with in-store sales making up 81.9% of total retail sales (excluding auto) for the month. According to Mastercard SpendingPulse, in-store sales were up 15.5% year over year in July, and weekends experienced positive spikes in spending as a result of in-store shoppers returning to physical stores.


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