May sales perked up
June 16, 2003,
Feeling better about the economy and an improving jobs outlook, American consumers pulled out their plastic and started shopping once again during May, pushing retail sales up by 0.1 percent from April, when sales fell by 0.3 percent, the Commerce Department reported.
Consumers focused on fixing up their homes during May. Sales of furniture and home furnishings stores jumped up by 1.1 percent in May, and related sales at electronics and appliance stores shot p even faster, rising by 2.9 percent. But cool, wet weather across much of the country kept do-it-yourselfers and gardeners indoors, and sales in building material and garden supply outlets were virtually flat.
Helped by sales of seasonal apparel, sales in clothing stores rallied after prolonged weakness, rising by 1.0 percent, and recovering from a 1.8 percent decline in April. Sales in department stores and discounters improved as well, gaining by 0.7 percent, bounding back from a deep 1.2 percent drop the month before.
Freeing up some cash for consumers to spend elsewhere, big-ticket auto sales fell by 0.2 percent, giving up some of the strong 1.7 percent increase recorded in April.
Retail Sales in May (by channel)
|Source: U.S. Department of Commerce
|Electronics & appliance stores||+2.9%|
|Restaurants & bars||+1.4|
|Furniture & home furnishings||+1.1|
|Clothing & accessories||+1.0|
|Health & personal care||+0.4|
|Building material & garden supplies||+0.0|
|Food & beverage||-0.5|