The National Retail Federation (NRF) has released data showing a slight decline in US retail sales in July amid an increase in Covid-19 cases caused by the Delta variant.

The data is based on data from the US Census Bureau and showed that overall retail sales in July dropped by 1.1% seasonally adjusted from the previous month.

Despite this, retail sales in the month were up by 9.5% unadjusted year-over-year (YoY).

During the month, sales from clothing and clothing accessory stores fell by 2.6% month-over-month seasonally adjusted, but were up by 45.8% unadjusted YoY.

Sales on grocery and beverage stores also dropped by 0.7% month-over-month seasonally adjusted, but rose by 2.9% unadjusted YoY.

Online and other non-store sales also experienced a 3.1% decline month-over-month seasonally adjusted, but this was up by 3.7% unadjusted YoY.

NRF president and CEO Matthew Shay said: “July retail sales showed slight deceleration in spending, but nothing to derail our outlook for a record year.

“Though the Delta variant is presenting health challenges while supply chain disruptions, along with unfilled job openings, are presenting business challenges, the consumer and broader economy continue to display steady strength aided by advanced tax credit payments and strong gains in the labour market and personal incomes.

“We remain optimistic that the strength of the American consumer and ingenuity of the retail industry will produce continued growth heading into the fall.

“We encourage people to get vaccinated as soon as possible to stop the spread of the virus and to keep our economy growing.”

Sales for the first seven months of the year were up by 15.5% over the same period of last year, reported the NRF.

The organisation expects retail sales this year to grow by between 10.5% and 13.5% over last year to between $4.44tn and $4.56tn.

Last month, the NRF reported that retail sales in the country had increased by 0.6% in June compared to the previous month.