What’s a mall, daddy?

Retail sales probably rose in July for the first time in three months, according to data set to be released this week, but that’s not expected to be much relief for a sector taking a battering.

The Commerce Department report on retail sales, due Tuesday, may show a gain of 0.3% in July.

That’s little solace for the likes of Macy’s M, -0.24% and Kohl’s KSS, -2.18% , as shoppers avoid the mall and shop from home.

Department-store sales have sagged 3.9% in the 12 months ending June, while electronic shopping and mail-order house sales have rocketed 12% over the same time period, according to Commerce Department data.

The dominant electronic shopping player, Amazon AMZN, +1.16% , held its Prime Day event in July, creating “upside risk” to the report, according to economists at Credit Suisse.

Retail sales also…