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Home Sales Stand Out In May

Furniture and home furnishings stores were among a handful of winning retailers in May, turning in a 0.4 percent month-over-month sales increase against a drearier backdrop of overall declining U.S. retail sales.

Total U.S. retail sales fell for the first time since August, dropping 0.5 percent due to weak sales of cars and falling gas prices.

Joining home on the upside of the haves, health and personal care stores lead the way with a sales increase of 0.8 percent, while both building/garden supplies dealers and sporting goods/books/music purveyors garnered a 0.5 percent increase in sales. Grocery stores also managed to stay positive with a 0.1 percent increase.

Leading the have nots, car dealers and gas stations saw sales fall 1.6 percent, with non-store retailers losing 1.1 percent. Department stores and clothing/accessories retailers fared slightly better, suffering 1.1 and 0.9 percent losses, respectively.

Restaurants and bars found their tables and stools slightly more vacant last month, with sales dropping 0.3 percent. Turning in a surprising number considering the advent of a hot summer in the Northeast, electronics and appliances dealers reported sales were off 0.1 percent.

Retail sales in May
by channel

Source: U.S. Department of Commerce
Health & personal care 0.8
Building mat./garden supplies 0.5
Sporting goods, books, music 0.5
Furn. & Home Furnishings stores 0.4
Grocery Stores 0.1
Car dealers -1.6
Gas stations -1.6
Non-Store retailers -1.1
Department stores -0.9
Clothing & accessories -0.8
Restaurants & bars -0.3
Electronics & Appliances -0.1

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