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U.S. Retail Sales Climb 17% in May

Retail sales in the U.S. grew by a seasonally adjusted rate of 17.7 percent in May over April, new data from the U.S. Commerce Department shows. The increase sets a new record for monthly retail growth.

Sales at building materials stores rose 10.9 percent over April and were up more than 16 percent over May 2019, the Commerce Department data shows.

In April, retail sells fell 16 percent over March figures. Retail spending still remains below levels set before COVID-19. In May, total retail spending amounted to $485.5 billion, compared to $527.3 billion in Feb.  Compared to May 2019, retail sales fell 6.1 percent, reports The Wall Street Journal.

Retail sales face another obstacle next month as temporary unemployment benefits are set to expire, reports CNN.

“It is clear that huge fiscal and monetary support, including the extra $600 per week in unemployment benefit, has given households the income and the confidence to spend. However, this $600 extra payment ends in July and we must remember that employment is still 20 million down on where it was at the beginning of the year,” James Knightley, chief international economist at ING Economics, said in a research note.

For more insight into how the U.S. economy is being affected by COVID-19 and shifting consumer preferences, subscribe to Hardware Retailing.

About Todd Taber

Todd Taber
Todd is trends editor for Hardware Retailing magazine. He graduated from Indiana University where he majored in journalism and French. Throughout his career, he has aimed to highlight small businesses and their community value. He joined NRHA in 2017.

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