Despite nicer spring weather, consumers softened their spending in April. According to the National Retail Federation, April retail sales, which exclude automobiles, gas stations and restaurants, were unchanged seasonally adjusted month-to-month yet increased 4.7 percent unadjusted year-over-year.
“The shift in Easter to April did not provide enough bounce to retailers as retail sales struggled to keep their strong spring pace,” NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay said. “With consumer spending accounting for roughly 70 percent of total economic activity, NRF remains hopeful that the uninspiring April retail sales figures are just a temporary seasonal fluctuation.”
April retail sales, recently released by the U.S. Census Bureau, which include categories such as automobiles, gasoline stations, and restaurants, increased 0.1 percent seasonally adjusted month-to-month ($434.6 billion). The Census Bureau also reported that retail sales increased 4.0 percent adjusted year-over-year.
Building material and garden equipment and supplies dealers stores’ sales also increased 0.4 percent seasonally adjusted month-to-month and 2.7 percent unadjusted year-over-year.
“Even though retail sales were weaker than anticipated, the fundamentals of the economy, including improving job growth and income gains, remain positive,” NRF Chief Economist Jack Kleinhenz said. “While the shift in Easter played into the seasonal figures, NRF remains optimistic that retail sales will keep their positive trajectory, albeit in fits-and-starts, in the second quarter.”