Retail sales increased for the 10th straight month in April, reports the National Retail Federation (Washington, D.C.), rising 0.2 percent seasonally adjusted from March and 4 percent unadjusted year-over-year. NRF says the results show a modest increase compared to previous months’ results, pointing to evidence that some consumers are beginning to feel the strain of high food and gas costs.
"Retailers are on the front lines of economic recovery, though higher commodity prices are beginning to weigh on some consumers,” says NRF president and ceo Matthew Shay.
April retail sales released by the U.S. Commerce Department show total retail sales (which include non-general merchandise categories such as autos, gasoline stations and restaurants) increased 0.5 percent seasonally adjusted over March and 7.8 percent unadjusted year-over-year.
Among retail sectors, the Easter holiday helped boost apparel sales last month with clothing and clothing accessory stores seeing gains of 0.3 percent. Sales at electronic and appliance stores decreased 2.2 percent, while home furnishing and building material stores saw only slight or no gains. Furniture store sales were also weak, dropping 1.1 percent.
“Positive economic indicators such as increases in job openings and wage growth are certainly helping boost consumers’ confidence, and support spending,” says Jack Kleinhenz, NRF chief economist. “While there are reasons to be optimistic, plenty of other concerns exist which could very easily shift consumers’ spending habits, including decreasing home prices, high unemployment levels and rising costs at the pump.”