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Retail Sales Unchanged in May

The National Retail Federation calculated May retail sales, which exclude automobiles, gas stations and restaurants, unchanged seasonally adjusted month-to-month yet increased 3.0 percent unadjusted year-over-year.

On the surface, May retail sales were disappointing and weaker than expected; however April's upward revisions still indicate positive growth for the remainder of the year.


Even though American consumers continue to be selective and price-sensitive, May sales were strong in many retail categories and sectors including building supply stores, furniture stores and nonstore retailers.

The economic fundamentals – consumer confidence, employment and income – remain strong.

Additional findings from NRF’s retail sales analysis include:

  • Building material & garden equipment & supplies dealers:         

    • +1.1% month-to-month

    • +3.5% year-over-year

  • Clothing & clothing accessories stores:

    • -0.6% month-to-month

    • +3.2 year-over-year

  • Electronics & appliance stores:

    • -0.3% month-to-month

    • +1.3% year-over-year

  • Furniture & home furnishing stores:

    • +0.5 month-to-month

    • +6.7 year-over-year

  • General merchandise stores:

    • -0.6% month-to-month

    •  +1.7% year-over-year

  • Health & personal care stores:

    • -0.1% month-to-month

    • +4.2% year-over-year

  • Nonstore retailers:

    • +0.6% month-to-month

    • +5.1% year-over-year

  • Sporting goods, hobby, book & music stores:

    • -0.1% month-to-month

    • -1.0% year-over-year

      May retail sales, released today by the U.S. Census Bureau, which include categories such as automobiles, gasoline stations and restaurants, increased 0.3 percent seasonally adjusted month-to-month ($437.6 billion) and 4.3 percent adjusted year-over-year.

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