July bookstore sales fell 1.9%, compared to the same period a year ago, according to preliminary estimates released by the U.S. Census Bureau.
The decline was due in part to a loss of the blockbuster sales provided by Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, which hit stores July 31, 2016, and drove bookstore sales this time a year ago. Total bookstore sales hit $673 million this July, down from $686 million in 2016.
The sales decline in the month moved bookstore sales for 2017 into negative territory. Sales for the first seven months of 2017 were $5.72 billion, down from $5.74 billion in the comparable period in 2016, marking a drop of 0.3%.
For the full retail sector, July sales rose 2.8% over 2017 and sales in the year to date were up 3.8%.