Retail sales jump almost 5 percent nationally

Retail sales jump almost 5 percent nationally

June 13–Retail sales climbed almost 5 percent last month on improved consumer confidence and spending, according to the National Retail Federation.

May retail sales — excluding automobiles, gas stations and restaurants — rose 4.8 percent from the same month last year and 0.6 percent from April, the Washington, D.C., trade group reported today.

“Stronger employment data and increasing home and equity prices lifted confidence and spending this spring,” NRF chief economist Jack Kleinhenz said in a statement. “The economy is improving, albeit slowly, but we still have a long way to go.”

Sequestration and tax increases dampened sales growth in the first quarter, he said, with stagnant salaries continuing to constrain further economic acceleration.

The U.S. Department of Commerce — which includes non-general merchandise sales categories such as automobiles, gas stations and restaurants in its figures — reported that those retail sales increased 4.3 percent in May from the prior-year period and 0.6 percent from April.

Sales of building material and garden equipment, and sales at supplies dealers stores, increased 9.3 percent from last May, while clothing and accessories sales were up 4.8 percent. Electronics and appliance store sales decreased 0.2 percent.