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U.S. Retail Sales on the Rise in April

Month shows highest year-over-year growth since May 2006

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Total retail sales for April (excluding auto sales) grew by 8.8 percent year-over-year according to the latest MasterCard Advisors‘ SpendingPulse report. The growth shows continued improvement over March and is higher than the average 7.1 percent year-to-year growth rate of the previous quarter.

Seasonally adjusted retail sales (excluding both autos and gasoline) were up 1.4 percent, the fourth straight month of growth. MasterCard Advisors says this may be more of an indication of fluctuating gas prices than the overall state of retail spending.

“We have not seen this sort of sustained growth in retail sales since late 2005/early 2006, when the economy was in much better shape and the unemployment rate was more than 4% below its current level,” says Kamalesh Rao, director of economic research, MasterCard Advisors SpendingPulse. “Today, the general state of the labor market and a mixed economic environment suggests that the current rate of retail expansion could be vulnerable, especially given the weight of higher fuel costs on discretionary spending. Additional momentum in the labor market could offset that uncertainty.”

Sectors showing positive results in April included eCommerce, Luxury, Apparel, Groceries and Travel, both in the Airlines and Lodging categories. Weaker segments included Furniture and Furnishings, Hardware, Electronics and Department Stores.

Spending grew in every part of the country, with the Pacific and Southwest regions topping the list, posting 13.2 percent and 12.2 percent growth respectively.

 

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