May Retail Sales Remain Steady

In its latest report, the National Retail Federation has calculated that May retail sales remained mostly unchanged when seasonally adjusted month-to-month, yet they showed an increase of 3.0 percent unadjusted year-over-year. The data excludes automobiles, gas stations and restaurants.

On the surface, the Federation said that "May retail sales were disappointing and weaker than expected; however April's upward revisions still indicate positive growth for the remainder of the year."

Even though American consumers continue to be selective and price-sensitive, May sales were strong in many retail categories and sectors including building supply stores, furniture stores and non-store retailers.

The economic fundamentals – consumer confidence, employment and income – remain strong.

Additional findings from NRF’s retail sales analysis include:

  • Building material & garden equipment & supplies dealers:
    • +1.1% month-to-month
    • +3.5% year-over-year
  • Clothing & clothing accessories stores:
    • -0.6% month-to-month
    • +3.2 year-over-year
  • Electronics & appliance stores:
    • -0.3% month-to-month
    • +1.3% year-over-year
  • Furniture & home furnishing stores:
    • +0.5 month-to-month
    • +6.7 year-over-year
  • General merchandise stores:
    • -0.6% month-to-month
    •  +1.7% year-over-year
  • Health & personal care stores:
    • -0.1% month-to-month
    • +4.2% year-over-year
  • Nonstore retailers:
    • +0.6% month-to-month
    • +5.1% year-over-year
  • Sporting goods, hobby, book & music stores:
    • -0.1% month-to-month
    • -1.0% year-over-year

May retail sales, released today by the U.S. Census Bureau, which include categories such as automobiles, gasoline stations and restaurants, increased 0.3 percent seasonally adjusted month-to-month ($437.6 billion) and 4.3 percent adjusted year-over-year.

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