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April Retail Sales Grew 0.6% Over March And 2% Over Last Year.


Retail sales bounced back in April, showing both month-over-month and year-over-year growth, the National Retail Federation said Tuesday. The U.S. Census Bureau reported Tuesday that overall retail sales in April were up 0.4% from March and up 1.6% year over year. In March, sales were down 0.7% month over month but up 2.4% year over year.

NRF’s calculation of retail sales – which excludes auto dealers, gas stations and restaurants to focus on core retail – showed April was up 0.6% from March and up 2% unadjusted year over year. In March, sales were down 0.7% month over month but up 3.4% year over year. NRF’s numbers were up 3.7% unadjusted year over year on a three-month moving average as of April.


NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay said the April rebound reflected “consumer resilience in the face of elevated economic uncertainty. Moderating price levels, continued labor market strength and wage gains have increased consumers’ ability to spend,” Shay added. However, consumers “remain cautious and concerned about the current economic environment.” In this environment, retailers continue to use competitive pricing and convenience “to help cost-sensitive consumers stretch their budgets,” Shay said.

April sales were up in four out of nine retail categories on a yearly basis, NRF says, led by online sales, health and personal care stores and general merchandise stores, and also rose in four categories on a monthly basis.


Specifics from key sectors include:


  • Online and other non-store sales were up 1.2% month over month seasonally adjusted and up 6.4% unadjusted year over year.

  • Health and personal care stores were up 0.9% month over month seasonally adjusted and up 5.8% unadjusted year over year.

  • General merchandise stores were up 0.9% month over month seasonally adjusted and up 4.1% unadjusted year over year.

  • Grocery and beverage stores were down 0.2% month over month seasonally adjusted but up 2.9% unadjusted year over year.

  • Clothing and clothing accessory stores were down 0.3% month over month seasonally adjusted and down 4.1% unadjusted year over year.

  • Building materials and garden supply stores were up 0.5% month over month seasonally adjusted but down 5.7% unadjusted year over year.

  • Electronics and appliance stores were down 0.5% month over month seasonally adjusted and down 8.2% unadjusted year over year.

  • Furniture and home furnishings stores were down 0.7% month over month seasonally adjusted and down 8.8% unadjusted year over year.

  • Sporting goods stores were down 3.3% month over month seasonally adjusted and down 9.1% unadjusted year over year.


“Consumers remained engaged in April,” NRF Chief Economist Jack Kleinhenz said. “Shoppers are being selective and price-sensitive, but we continue to expect that spending will see modest gains through the course of the year. Year-over-year growth slowed, which was partly because of upward revisions to last year’s data but also an early indication that credit conditions are tightening and excess savings are shrinking.”

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