May's Retail Sales Up Slightly From April, but Significantly Down From Last Year
Washington, June 11, 2009 – Without stimulus checks from Uncle Sam, consumers had less money in their pockets to spend last month. According to the National Retail Federation, retail industry sales for May (which exclude automobiles, gas stations, and restaurants) increased 0.2 percent seasonally adjusted from April but dropped 4.7 percent unadjusted over last year.
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) increased 0.5 percent seasonally adjusted over April and decreased 11.1 percent unadjusted year-over-year.
“With no direct stimulus for consumers this year, retailers were left with tougher comparisons, making May retail sales appear weak,” said NRF Chief Economist Rosalind Wells. “However, a slight sales increase from April provides hope that the economic turnaround may not be that far off.”
Sales at building material, garden equipment and supplies dealers increased a solid 1.3 percent seasonally adjusted from April but decreased 12.8 percent unadjusted year-over-year. Sporting goods, hobby, book and music stores sales dipped 0.8 percent seasonally adjusted month-to-month and decreased 2.6 percent unadjusted over April. Sales at clothing and clothing accessories stores jumped 0.4 percent seasonally adjusted month-to-month, but decreased 8.9 percent unadjusted year-over-year.
With or without rebate checks, consumers were still spending freely on necessities: sales at health and personal care stores increased 0.7 percent seasonally adjusted month-to-month and 3.3 percent unadjusted year-over-year.
The National Retail Federation is the world's largest retail trade association, with membership that comprises all retail formats and channels of distribution including department, specialty, discount, catalog, Internet, independent stores, chain restaurants, drug stores and grocery stores as well as the industry's key trading partners of retail goods and services. NRF represents an industry with more than 1.6 million U.S. retail establishments, more than 24 million employees - about one in five American workers - and 2008 sales of $4.6 trillion. As the industry umbrella group, NRF also represents more than 100 state, national and international retail associations. www.nrf.com.