U.S. Retail Sales Remain Flat in May

May retail sales (excluding automobiles, gas stations and restaurants) were essentially unchanged on a seasonally adjusted basis after a revised gain of 0.6 percent, according to the National Retail Federation.

April 6, 2018

U.S. Retail Sales Remain Flat in May

Retail sales also increased by 4 percent year-over-year on a three-month moving average.


The NRF also found that sales were 5.3 percent above the year-ago level on an adjusted basis and increased 4 percent on a three-month moving average year-over-year.

“While the month-to-month comparisons may be unimpressive, current trends in retail sales growth are healthy,” says Jack Kleinhenz, chief economist, NRF. “The lack of retail pricing power continues to be a benefit to consumers but an ongoing challenge for retailers.”

Furthermore, performance in May was similar across retail segments; however, the electronics sector reported the biggest losses. On a year-over-year basis, building materials and furnishings saw the greatest growth, followed by online and other non-store sales.

Other highlights include: online and other non-store sales increased 0.8 percent over April and increased

12.4 percent year-over-year; clothing and accessories increased 0.3 percent over April and 2.1 percent year-over-year; general merchandise decreased 0.3 percent over April and increased 1.3 percent year-over-year; electronics and appliances decreased 2.8 percent over April and decreased 0.7 percent year-over-year; furniture and home furnishings increased 0.4 percent over April and increased 6.7 percent year-over-year; building materials and supplies remain unchanged from April but increased 14.2 percent year-over-year; sporting goods decreased 0.6 percent from April and decreased 2.9 percent year-over-year; and health and personal care remained unchanged over April and increased 2.2 percent year-over-year.

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