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Retail Sales Improve for 11th Straight Month

NRF study shows consumer spending still slow




May retail sales marked the 11th straight month of growth. However, rising gas prices and a weak labor market continues to affect consumer spending, with only a few retail sectors reporting growth, according to a recent study by the National Retail Federation (NRF, Washington, D.C.).

The study finds that May retail industry sales (which exclude automobiles, gas stations, and restaurants) grew 0.1 percent seasonally adjusted from April and 5.0 percent unadjusted year-over-year.

“After a string of disappointing government reports relating to economic activity and employment, May’s retail report supports the idea of the economy hitting a soft patch,” says NRF chief economist Jack Kleinhenz. “Though consumers are spending cautiously, we are not seeing them cut out new purchases completely, signaling there is a distinct appetite to spend if economic conditions let them.”

May retail sales released today by the U.S. Commerce Department show total retail sales (which include non-general merchandise categories such as autos, gasoline stations and restaurants) dropped 0.2 percent seasonally adjusted over April and increased 7.8 percent unadjusted year-over-year.

Among retail sectors, health and personal care stores sales grew 0.8 percent. Seasonal weather also helped boost sales at clothing and clothing accessory stores, with sales increasing 0.2 percent. Furniture and home furnishing stores sales dropped 0.7 percent, while electronics and appliance stores sales declined 1.3 percent.

Seasonal weather also helped boost building material and garden equipment stores sales, which grew 1.2 percent.


“While retail has been a driving force of the recovery, the industry is not immune to factors like rising gas prices and weak housing,” says NRF president and ceo Matthew Shay. “We expect the pace of the recovery to pick up in time for the back-to-school season.”



MasterClass: ‘Re-Sparkling’ Retail: Using Store Design to Build Trust, Faith and Brand Loyalty

HOW CAN WE EMPOWER and inspire senior leaders to see design as an investment for future retail growth? This session, led by retail design expert Ian Johnston from Quinine Design, explores how physical stores remain unmatched in the ability to build trust, faith, and loyalty with your customers, ultimately driving shareholder value.

Presented by:
Ian Johnston
Founder and Creative Director, Quinine Design

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