April Retail Sales Up 0.6%

Consumers found the confidence to increase their spending in April, buoyed largely by strengthening employment data, increasing housing prices and a record-breaking stock market.

According to the National Retail Federation (NRF), April retail sales -- excluding automobiles, gas stations and restaurants -- increased 0.6 percent seasonally adjusted from last month and increased 3.9 percent unadjusted year-over-year.

“In the face of higher taxes and sequester, consumers provided the economy a bit of a reprieve this month,” said Matthew Shay, NRF president and CEO. “Despite colder spring weather and an early Easter, consumers shopped in April, demonstrating an inherent resiliency even as the economy faces serious headwinds, including stagnant job and wage growth.”

April retail sales, released today by the U.S. Department of Commerce, showed total retail and food services sales (which include non-general merchandise categories such as automobiles, gasoline stations and restaurants) increased 0.1 percent seasonally adjusted month-to-month and increased 3.7 percent adjusted year-over-year.

“Today’s retail sales data is encouraging news,” said Jack Kleinhenz, NRF chief economist. “However positive, retail sales and consumer spending in April may not necessarily translate into a stronger or healthier second quarter. NRF continues to forecast moderate sales growth for the year.”

Other findings from the April retail sales report include:

  • Building material & garden equipment and supplies dealers stores’ sales increased 1.5 percent seasonally-adjusted and increased 7.7 percent unadjusted year-over-year.
  • Clothing and clothing accessories stores' sales increased 1.2 percent seasonally-adjusted month-to-month and increased 3.5 percent unadjusted year-over-year.
  • Electronics and appliance stores’ sales increased 0.8 percent seasonally-adjusted month-to-month and increased 1.2 percent unadjusted year-over-year.
  • Furniture and home furnishing stores’ sales were flat seasonally-adjusted month-to-month and increased 6.4 percent unadjusted year-over-year.
  • General merchandise stores’ sales increased 1.0 seasonally-adjusted month-to-month and decreased 2.7 percent unadjusted year-over-year.
  • Health and personal care stores’ sales were decreased 0.1 seasonally-adjusted month-to-month and flat unadjusted year-over-year.
  • Nonstore retailers’ sales increased 1.4 percent seasonally-adjusted month-to-month and increased 19.0 percent unadjusted year-over-year.
  • Sporting goods, hobby, book and music stores’ sales increased 0.5 percent seasonally-adjusted month-to-month and increased 4.5 percent unadjusted year-over-year.

NRF represents retailers of all types and sizes, including chain restaurants and industry partners, from the United States and more than 45 countries abroad.

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