Retail sales surged in April, allaying fears of a consumer falloff, the National Retail Federation said today. Excluding automobiles, gasoline stations and restaurants, sales rose 0.7 percent over March, according to NRF’s calculations. Overall U.S. retail sales saw an increase of 1.3 percent.
“Today’s retail sales data suggests that consumer activity, the primary driver of economic activity, has not lost its momentum,” NRF Chief Economist Jack Kleinhenz said. “This sets the stage for an upturn in economic growth in the second quarter and should be encouraging for Federal Reserve policymakers as they contemplate interest rate adjustments.”
With the exception of setbacks in building materials and general merchandise, monthly gains were broad-based including online, apparel and furniture. April sales were 3.5 percent above the same month last year, and the three-month moving average was up 5.6 percent compared with a year ago.
“This is reflective of growth in a volatile and disrupted retail industry, where consumer engagement is evolving to reflect both new economic and changing market realities,” said Kleinhenz.
A few specifics from the report include:
- Online and other non-store sales increased 2.1 seasonally adjusted over the previous month and 8.6 percent unadjusted year-over-year.
- Sales at clothing and accessories stores increased 1 percent seasonally adjusted over March and decreased 1.1 percent unadjusted over last year.
- Sales at general merchandise stores were flat over the previous month and increased 0.4 percent year-over-year.
- Electronics and appliances stores’ sales increased 0.5 percent seasonally adjusted month-to-month and decreased 1.7 percent unadjusted year-over-year.
- Furniture and home furnishings stores’ sales increased 0.7 percent over the previous month and increased 4.5 percent unadjusted over last year.
- Sales at building materials and supplies stores decreased 1 percent over the previous month and increased 5.5 percent unadjusted year-over-year.
- Sporting goods stores’ sales increased 0.2 percent seasonally adjusted month-to-month and 6.5 percent unadjusted year-over-year.
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