Auto industry gives retail a boost in June

While many businesses are still feeling the aches of a teetering economy, retailers in June saw an increase in sales nationally thanks to some help from the auto industry.

In its monthly report, the Department of Commerce said retail sales were up by 0.4 percent in June with a substantial boost from auto sales. According to the report, auto sales increased by 1.8 percent in June. That is the largest increase in car sales since November 2012.

While that was a significant national increase, local officials and car dealers said they have also seen an increase in sales, but nothing that’s out of the norm.

Jarret Heil, Marshall County treasurer, keeps track of new car sales in the county and said according to past years, there aren’t any big jumps from month-to-month.

“I didn’t see any significant increases,” Heil said.

According to county records, nearly $6.5 million in new cars were registered with the treasurer’s office in June. That number is on par with most figures reported each month.

Tom Wise, owner of Ken Wise, said he saw an increase in sales at both of his dealerships, but he said this has been the trend for a few years now.

“We have seen an increase since the bankruptcies of GM and Chrysler,” Wise said. “It doesn’t seem unusual.”

Kendall Jensen, owner of Jensen Ford, said he also saw an increase in business, but wouldn’t call it a substantial increase.

“It was such a cool, damp May,” Jensen said. “When the weather turns nice, people get out and look at cars, furniture, appliances, stuff like that.”

Mike Clemons, owner of Clemons Chevrolet, said business was good for him during June, which is typically known as an unpopular month to shop for cars.

“June is generally a quieter month,” Clemons said. “July is the bigger month.”

Clemons said, for him, July and December tend to be the busiest months for car sales. He said that’s because July is when most of the new models come out and a lot of businesses wait until December to purchase company cars because of tax incentives.

Clemons, Jensen and Wise all said they’re on track for increased sales in July.

According to the Department of Commerce report released Monday, the furniture business also saw a substantial increase in sales in June rising 2.4 percent while gas stations saw a 0.7 percent increase after gas prices shot up in the past month.