April retail sales (excluding automobile, gas stations and restaurants) decreased 0.1 percent seasonally adjusted from March, but increased 2.8 percent unadjusted year-over-year, marking 22 consecutive months of retail sales growth, according to the National Retail Federation.
“Though consumer spending softened in April, retailers overall have seen solid sales growth so far this spring, a positive indicator that we’re heading in the right direction,” says Matthew Shay, president and chief executive officer, NRF. “With 22 straight months of sustained retail sales growth, retailers are optimistic as they gear up for the all-important summer shopping season.”
Numbers released Tuesday by the U.S. Department of Commerce for non-general merchandise categories such as automobiles, gasoline stations and restaurants, showed an increase of 0.1 percent seasonally adjusted month-to-month and 4.5 percent unadjusted year-over-year.
“The expected shortfall in April retail sales reflects the seasonal shift in consumer spending at this time each year,” says Jack Kleinhenz, chief economist, NRF. “With Easter a full 20 days earlier this year and unseasonably warm weather, consumers started spending as early as February and March on everything from spring apparel to newly-released electronic items.”
Areas that saw growth in April included furniture and home furnishing stores, sporting goods, hobby, book and music stores, as well as electronics and appliance stores. Sales decreased for clothing and clothing accessories stores and building material and garden equipment dealers.