April retail sales were unchanged seasonally-adjusted month-to-month, yet increased 4.7 percent unadjusted year-over-year, indicating consumers' tempered spending, according to the National Retail Federation (NRF).
“The shift in Easter to April did not provide enough bounce to retailers as retail sales struggled to keep their strong spring pace,” said NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay. “With consumer spending accounting for roughly 70 percent of total economic activity, NRF remains hopeful that the uninspiring April retail sales figures are just a temporary seasonal fluctuation.”
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, April retail sales, which include categories such as automobiles, gasoline stations and restaurants, increased 0.1 percent seasonally-adjusted month-to-month ($434.6 billion). The Census Bureau also reported that retail sales increased 4 percent adjusted year-over-year.
Jack Kleinhenz, NRF chief economist, noted that although "retail sales were weaker than anticipated, the fundamentals of the economy, including improving job growth and income gains, remain positive.”
“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," Kleinhenz added.
Washington, D.C.-based NRF is the world’s largest retail trade association, representing discount and department stores, home goods and specialty stores, Main Street merchants, grocers, wholesalers, chain restaurants and Internet retailers from the United States and more than 45 countries.