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Consumer Confidence Led Retail Sales in May

Consumer Confidence Led Retail Sales in May
May retail sales rose by 0.7 percent over April and 5.6 percent year over year, according to the NRF.

May retail sales rose by 0.7 percent over April and 5.6 percent year over year, according to the NRF.

“The economy is looking strong and households have a solid financial foundation on which to base their spending,” says Jack Kleinhenz, chief economist, NRF. “We have seen ongoing momentum over the last several months and believe sales growth should remain healthy and consistent with our 2018 outlook. Nonetheless, inflation and rising oil prices are complicating the picture. And new tariffs or a trade war would certainly be negatives that would increase prices and reduce both consumer purchasing power and consumer confidence.”

Kleinhenz also pointed to tax cuts, unemployment at a long-time low and positive availability of consumer credit as contributing factors.

The three-month moving average increased by 4.6 percent compared to the same period last year, exceeding NRF”s forecast that 2018 retail sales would grow between 3.8 percent and 4.4 percent over 2017.

The NRF data was sourced from the U.S. Census Bureau which reported that overall May sales (including automobiles, gasoline and restaurants) increased 0.8 percent compared to April and up 5.9 percent year over year

The NRF also found that:

  • Online and other non-store sales increased 9.1 percent year-over-year and up 0.1 percent over April seasonally adjusted;
  • Sales at clothing and clothing accessory stores increased 8.2 percent year-over-year and up 1.3 percent from April seasonally adjusted;
  • General merchandise sales increased up 1.2 percent from April seasonally adjusted and 5.6 percent year-over-year;
  • Building materials and garden supply sales increased 2.4 percent from April seasonally adjusted and 5.3 percent year-over-year;
  • Grocery and beverage sales were unchanged for April and increased 4.4 percent.
  • Furniture and home furnishings sales were down 2.4 percent from April seasonally adjusted but increased 4.2 percent year-over-year.
  • Electronics and appliance sales increased 0.2 percent from April seasonally adjusted and 2.8 percent year-over-year.
  • Health and personal care sales increased and up 0.5 percent from April seasonally adjusted and 2.6 percent year-over-year.
  • Sporting goods sales were down 1.1 percent from April seasonally adjusted were down 0.5 percent year-over-year.
  • The May results reflect gains observed in April, which was up 0.5 percent monthly and 2.8 percent year over year.
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