14 May Retail Sales Unchanged in April as Consumers Tempered Spending
Despite nicer spring weather, consumers tempered their spending in the month of April. According to the National Retail Federation April retail sales, which exclude automobiles, gas stations and restaurants, were unchanged seasonally-adjusted month-to-month yet increased 4.7 percent unadjusted year-over-year.
“The shift in Easter to April did not provide enough bounce to retailers as retail sales struggled to keep their strong spring pace,” said NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay. “With consumer spending accounting for roughly 70 percent of total economic activity, NRF remains hopeful that the uninspiring April retail sales figures are just a temporary seasonal fluctuation.”
April retail sales, released by the U.S. Census Bureau, which include categories such as automobiles, gasoline stations, and restaurants, increased 0.1 percent seasonally-adjusted month-to-month ($434.6 billion). The Census Bureau also reported that retail sales increased 4.0 percent adjusted year-over-year.
“Even though retail sales were weaker than anticipated, the fundamentals of the economy, including improving job growth and income gains, remain positive,” said NRF Chief Economist Jack Kleinhenz. “While the shift in Easter played into the seasonal figures, NRF remains optimistic that retail sales will keep their positive trajectory, albeit in fits-and-starts, in the second quarter.”
Additional findings from NRF’s retail sales analysis include:
• Sporting goods, hobby, book and music stores’ sales increased 0.7 percent seasonally-adjusted month-to-month yet decreased 0.6 percent unadjusted year-over-year.
• Clothing and clothing accessories stores’ sales increased 1.2 percent seasonally-adjusted month-to-month and 5.2 percent unadjusted year-over-year.
• Electronics and appliance stores’ sales decreased 2.3 percent seasonally-adjusted month-to-month and 1.8 percent unadjusted year-over-year.
• General merchandise stores’ sales increased 0.2 percent seasonally-adjusted month-to-month and 5.3 percent unadjusted year-over-year.
• Nonstore retailers’ sales decreased 0.9 percent seasonally-adjusted month-to-month yet increased 5.8 percent unadjusted year-over-year.