Consumer Nation

Father's Day Boosts June Apparel Sales: SpendingPulse

Dear old Dad.

Just as Mother's Day helped fuel retail sales in May, Father's Day helped retailers hold on to recent trends into June, according to a new report.

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MastercardAdvisors' SpendingPulse report, which tracks retail spending across all payment forms, showed sales of apparel, jewelry and luxury goods rose again in June, while sales of electronics continued to languish.

Apparel sales rose 5.9 percent, said Mike Berry, director of industry research at Mastercard Advisors .

He noted that Father's Day gift buying helped the menswear segment to grow at a double-digit clip from June 2010.

But other segments logged gains as well. Sales of children's clothing rose 10 percent, women's apparel grew 1.1 percent, and footwear climbed 7.2 percent.

"Apparel took such a brutal hit during the recession," Berry said. "People really put the brakes on, but people can't hold on forever, you eventually have to restock your closet."

Berry also does not believe that apparel sales are being driven solely by discounting, as some retail industry analysts have suggested.

"We don't see much evidence of that," he said.

In fact, the rising cost of cotton has helped push apparel prices up about 2.7 percent, he said.

June tends to be a transitional month for apparel retailers as store try to clear out inventory ahead of the back-to-school shopping season.

But while apparel was a bright spot, other areas suffered.

The electronics sector saw its third-straight month of declines. Sales have been hurt by a lack of new must-have products.

Meanwhile, sales of home furnishings remained weak, hurt by a still struggling housing sector.

Although sales of jewelry grew once again in June, there were some signs that consumers were trading down to "mid-tier" jewelry, Berry said.

He explained that the shift might be tied to weakness in the capital markets at the beginning of the month as luxury spending tends to track swings in the market.

Questions? Comments? Email us at Follow Christina Cheddar Berk on Twitter @ccheddarberk.