Despite increased unemployment, consumers had money to spend at recently reopened retail stores in July, largely due to the "pandemic assistance" given out by the federal government. But experts are warning that the strong sales in July are not an indication of what the rest of the year will look like for the retail sector. More financial relief from the government could be slow in coming, if it comes at all, and consumers are already showing signs of pulling back in their spending. That puts the back to school shopping season at risk, to say nothing of the holiday shopping season.
Absent government relief, the "solid performance" seen in recent months "will continue to wane over the remainder of this year," according to a note from GlobalData Retail Managing Director Neil Saunders. That means that July's performance could be as good as it gets this year.