Consumer News: Retail sales drop in July, historic increase in food stamp benefits
CNN– Americans are shopping less and less as the Delta variant sweeps across the nation. The Census Bureau says retail sales dropped in July for the second time in three months. Even with the renewed worries about the pandemic, retail sales are still up nearly 16% from July 2020. Sales at online retailers declined 3% in July, exceeded only by car and car part dealers, which dropped nearly 4%.
A historic jump in food stamp benefits for millions of Americans who rely on them. The Biden administration has announced an increase of more than 25% above pre-pandemic levels, the largest jump in the program’s history. As Stacey Cohan reports, the boost comes as a temporary increase of 15% was set to expire at the end of next month. The increase takes effect in October. Monday’s changes stem from an update to the Thrifty Food Plan, which determines benefit amounts. The plan estimates the cost of groceries needed to provide a budget-conscious diet for a family of four.