Alex Kowalski for Bloomberg.com reports that retail sales increased more than expected in July 2012 according a report released by the Commerce Department.  The .8 increase follows a .7 decrease in June.  It is the first increase since February of this year.

The interesting part of this report is that sales increased in all 13 measured categories, which marks the first time this has happened since 2005.  These categories include furniture and home furnishing stores, sporting goods, hobby, book and music stores, motor vehicle and parts dealers and building and garden equipment supplies dealers.

Clothing stores showed strong sales including a 10% increase for the Gap from 2011, as well as healthy increases for Macy’s and TJ Maxx.

In a previous T3Leads post we told you higher back to school spending was expected in 2012, because 2011 was a down year.  This July increase could be part of this, as in California for instance school is starting the second week of August.

The hope is that this momentum will continue to and through the holiday shopping season.