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April retail sales flat as shoppers tempered spending

Washington – Despite improvements in weather and more spring-like temperatures, consumers guarded their spending, keeping retail sales in April unchanged seasonally-adjusted month-to-month but up 4.7% unadjusted year-over-year.

This is according to the National Retail Federation, which noted April retail sales exclude automobiles, gas stations and restaurants.

As it relates to the home segment of retail, furniture and home furnishing stores’ sales decreased 0.6% seasonally-adjusted month-to-month yet increased 3.6% unadjusted year-over-year.

“The shift in Easter to April did not provide enough bounce to retailers as retail sales struggled to keep their strong spring pace,” said Matthew Shay, NRF president and ceo. “With consumer spending accounting for roughly 70% of total economic activity, NRF remains hopeful that the uninspiring April retail sales figures are just a temporary seasonal fluctuation.”

April retail sales released today by the U.S. Census Bureau and which include categories such as automobiles, gasoline stations, and restaurants increased 0.1% seasonally-adjusted month-to-month ($434.6 billion). The Census Bureau also reported that retail sales increased 4.0% adjusted year-over-year.

“Even though retail sales were weaker than anticipated, the fundamentals of the economy, including improving job growth and income gains, remain positive,” added Jack Kleinhenz, NRF chief economist. “While the shift in Easter played into the seasonal figures, NRF remains optimistic that retail sales will keep their positive trajectory, albeit in fits-and-starts, in the second quarter.”

Here are other findings from NRF’s retail sales analysis, by segment:

--Building material and garden equipment and supplies dealers stores’ sales increased 0.4% seasonally-adjusted month-to-month and 2.7% unadjusted year-over-year;

--Clothing and clothing accessories stores' sales increased 1.2% seasonally-adjusted month-to-month and 5.2% unadjusted year-over-year;

--Electronics and appliance stores’ sales decreased 2.3% seasonally-adjusted month-to-month and 1.8% unadjusted year-over-year;

--General merchandise stores’ sales increased 0.2% seasonally-adjusted month-to-month and 5.3% unadjusted year-over-year;

--Health and personal care stores’ sales increased 0.6% seasonally-adjusted month-to-month and 6.6% unadjusted year-over-year;

--Non-store retailers’ sales decreased 0.9% seasonally-adjusted month-to-month yet increased 5.8% unadjusted year-over-year;

--Sporting goods, hobby, book and music stores’ sales increased 0.7% seasonally-adjusted month-to-month yet decreased 0.6% unadjusted year-over-year.

 

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