follow us

Car sales put the brakes on retail numbers

Don Hogsett -- Home Textiles Today, May 17, 2004

Hurt by falling car sales, retail sales in April slipped a deeper than expected 0.5 percent from March levels, to a seasonally adjusted $331.8 billion, the Commerce Department reported.

But in a strong signal that the economy is improving and consumers are spending more freely, retail sales jumped 8 percent from April of 2003. Sales for the three-month period — February through April — climbed 8.3 percent from year-before levels.

Skewing the month-over-month figures a bit, and making the comparison with March more difficult, March retail sales were revised upward to a gain of 2 percent from a previously reported 1.8 percent, the agency said.

Taking a toll on the overall retail figure was a big 1.8 percent drop in car sales. Pull that number out of the equation, and sales for the remaining retail universe declined at a far more moderate pace of just 0.1 percent.

Taking big hits, in addition to cars, were apparel retailers, where sales fell 2 percent; and department stores, with sales skidding 1.7 percent. Do-it-yourselfers were otherwise engaged during the month, and sales at building materials and garden supply outlets tumbled 0.7 percent.

Other home-related goods did well, however, and sales in furniture and home furnishings stores climbed 0.7 percent, building on a 1.2 percent gain in March. Sales in electronics and appliances outlets climbed 0.8 percent, improving on a 0.2 percent increase in March.

Retail sales in April (by channel)

Sporting goods, hobby, books & music +1.1%
Non-store retailers +1.0
Electronics & appliances stores +0.8
Furniture & home furnishings stores. +0.7
Grocery stores +0.4
Gas stations +0.2
Clothing & accessories stores. -2.0%
Car dealers -1.8
Department stores -1.7
Building material & garden supplies stores -0.7
Restaurants & bars -0.1
Health & personal care stores -0.1
Source: U.S. Department of Commerce

Featured Video

  • Online Moves From Afterthought To Main Thought For Textiles Suppliers

    Camera Icon More Videos

Other Home Furnishings Sites

Casual Living
Gifts and Decorative Accessories
Home Accents Today
Kids Today
Furniture Today