July 16 (UPI) -- Retail sales in the United States totaled nearly $520 billion in June, a 0.4 percent increase from the previous month and 3.4 percent higher than the same month a year ago.
The June numbers beat economists' expectations for a 0.1 percent increase. Factoring gasoline sales out, the increase jumps to 0.7 percent. That's because fuel prices were down in June, causing lower sales at gas stations.
Looking at the second quarter, sales were up 3.4 percent from the same period a year ago, the U.S. Department of Commerce reported Tuesday.
Internet retailers such as Amazon had a 1.7 percent increase in sales but restaurants, grocery stores, home furnishing stores and pharmacies also had positive numbers. Sales fell 1.1 percent at department stores, and electronic stores also declined.
Strong retail sales, along with a strong job market, haven't deterred the Federal Reserve Bank from considering an interest rate hike at the end of July. Fed Chairman Jerome Powell hinted last week that an interest rate cut could be likely.
The U.S. economy set a record July 1 with 10 years --121 months -- of solid growth without a recession.