Retail Sales Up From 2012


Improved consumer confidence and spending helped drive retail sales in May, with a nearly 5 percent increase from last year, according to the National Retail Federation.

May retail sales, excluding automobiles, gas stations and restaurants, increased 0.6 percent seasonally adjusted from April and increased 4.8 percent unadjusted year-over-year.?

“The American consumer continues to drive the U.S. economy,” says Matthew Shay, president and chief executive officer, NRF. “In spite of fluctuating gas prices, severe weather in much of the country and fiscal policy uncertainty, consumers continue to demonstrate an inherent resiliency and flexibility.”

May retail sales, released Thursday by the U.S. Department of Commerce, showed that total retail and food services sales (which include non-general merchandise categories such as automobiles, gasoline stations, and restaurants) increased 0.6 percent seasonally adjusted month-to-month and 4.3 percent adjusted year-over-year.?

“Stronger employment data and increasing home and equity prices lifted confidence and spending this spring,” says Jack Kleinhenz, chief economist, NRF. “The economy is improving, albeit slowly, but we still have a long way to go. Stagnant salaries continue to constrain further economic acceleration. While sequester and tax increases dampened sales growth in the first quarter, it appears that the economy absorbed most of the blow.”?

Other findings from the May retail sales report include:??

  • Building material and garden equipment and supplies dealers stores’ sales increased 0.9 percent seasonally-adjusted and 9.3 percent unadjusted year-over-year.??
  • Clothing and clothing accessories stores' sales decreased 0.2 percent seasonally-adjusted month-to-month, yet increased 4.8 percent unadjusted year-over-year.??
  • Electronics and appliance stores’ sales decreased 0.4 percent seasonally-adjusted month-to-month and decreased 0.2 percent unadjusted year-over-year.??
  • Furniture and home furnishing stores’ sales decreased 0.8 seasonally-adjusted month-to-month, yet increased 0.1 percent unadjusted year-over-year.??
  • General merchandise stores’ sales increased 0.5 percent seasonally-adjusted month-to-month and increased 2.3 percent unadjusted year-over-year.??
  • Health and personal care stores’ sales increased 0.2 percent seasonally-adjusted month-to-month and increased 0.5 percent unadjusted year-over-year.??
  • Non-store retailers’ sales increased 0.7 percent seasonally-adjusted month-to-month and increased 11.5 percent unadjusted year-over-year.??
  • Sporting goods, hobby, book and music stores’ sales increased 0.6 percent seasonally-adjusted month-to-month and increased 1.8 percent unadjusted year-over-year.??