Retail Sales up 5% in May

Matthew Shay NRFMatthew Shay NRF
WASHINGTON - Consumers were in the mood to spend last month, pushing May sales (excluding automobiles, gas stations and restaurants) up 0.6% seasonally adjusted from April and up 4.8% unadjusted year-over-year.
     According to the National Retail Federation, sales at furniture and home furnishing stores' sales decreased 0.8% seasonally- adjusted month-to-month but rose 0.1% unadjusted year-over-year.
     "The American consumer continues to drive the U.S. economy," said NRF President and ceo Matthew Shay. "In spite on fluctuating gas prices, severe weather in much of the country and fiscal policy uncertainty, consumers continue to demonstrate an inherent resiliency and flexibility."
     May sales for total retail and food service released by the U.S. Department of Commerce - which include non-general merchandise categories such as automobiles, gasoline stations, and restaurants - increased 0.6% seasonally adjusted month to- month and rose 4.3% adjusted year-over- year.
     "Stronger employment data and increasing home and equity prices lifted confidence and spending this spring," said NRF chief economist Jack Kleinhenz.
     He added that stagnant wages, the impact of the sequester on government spending and the expiration of the payroll tax holiday continue to constrain sales.
     Other findings from the May retail sales report include:
     • Nonstore retailers' sales increased 0.7% seasonally-adjusted month-to-month and increased 11.5% unadjusted year-over- year.
     • Building material and garden equipment and supplies dealers stores' sales increased 0.9% seasonally-adjusted and increased 9.3% unadjusted year-over- year.
     • Clothing and clothing accessories stores' sales decreased 0.2% seasonally-adjusted month to- month but increased 4.8% unadjusted year-over-year.
     • Electronics and appliance stores' sales decreased 0.4% seasonally- adjusted month-to-month and decreased 0.2% unadjusted year-over-year.
     • General merchandise stores' sales increased 0.5% seasonally adjusted month-to-month and increased 2.3% unadjusted year-over- year.
     • Health and personal care stores' sales increased 0.2% seasonally- adjusted month-to-month and increased 0.5% unadjusted year-over-year.

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