NRF: April Retail Sales Grow Despite Inflation
Consumers accustomed to inflation continued to spend in April as retail sales overcame higher prices to show both monthly and year-over-year (YoY) increases, the National Retail Federation (NRF) said Tuesday. NRF’s calculation of retail sales — which excludes automobile dealers, gasoline stations and restaurants to focus on core retail — showed April was up 0.9 percent seasonally adjusted from March and up 6.4 percent unadjusted YoY. In March, sales were up 1 percent month-over-month and up 3.9 percent YoY. April sales were up in two-thirds of categories on both a monthly and yearly basis, with YoY gains led by online sales and clothing and grocery stores.
The U.S. Census Bureau said overall retail sales in April were up 0.9 percent seasonally adjusted from March and up 8.2 percent YoY. That compared with increases of 1.4 percent month-over-month and 7.3 percent YoY in March.
Total Retail's Take: High gasoline prices, rising interest rates, and price pressures across the board don't seem to be slowing consumer spending. According to NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay, while consumers are facing higher prices, they're preserving their budgets by shopping smart. “April retail sales demonstrate consumer strength and willingness to spend despite persistent inflation, supply chain constraints, market volatility and global unrest,” Shay said.
Several factors could be contributing to spending resiliency, including the approach of summer in the U.S. Consumers are making summer apparel and home purchases, workers continue to return to offices, and restaurants are bringing back outdoor dining, which was a key revenue driver during the pandemic. And with the expected travel boom later this year, Veem CEO Marwan Forzley doesn't anticipate this sentiment to change. "Consumers are eager to travel and the warmer months contributed heavily to strong retail performance in April, a good sign for seasonal businesses," said Forzley.
However, retailers recognize that inflation accounts for some of the increase, and will continue to focus on cost control and supply chain management. "Despite already tight margins, retailers remain committed to their customers and are doing everything they can to absorb these costs to keep products affordable," said Shay.
Kristina Stidham is the digital content director at Total Retail and sister brands Women in Retail Leadership Circle and Women Leading Travel & Hospitality at NAPCO Media. She is passionate about digital media and handles video, podcast and virtual event production for all brands. You can often find her at WIRLC, TR, WLT&H or industry events with her camera and podcasting equipment—or at home on Zoom—recording interviews with thought leaders and business executives.
Kristina holds a B.A. in Media Studies and Production from the Temple University Klein College of Media and Communication in Philadelphia. Go Owls! When she's not in the office, she loves to go on long walks, sing around the house, hangout with her family and two pet guinea pigs, and travel to new places.