NRF: U.S. retail sales rose in April

May 16, 2008
After several months of lackluster sales, U.S. retailers finally have a reason to cheer. According to the National Retail Federation, retail industry sales for April (which exclude automobiles, gas stations, and restaurants) rose 2.3 per cent unadjusted over last year and 0.6 per cent seasonally adjusted month-to-month.
April retail sales released Tuesday by the U.S. Commerce Department show total retail sales (which include non-general merchandise categories such as autos, gasoline stations and restaurants) decreased 0.2 per cent seasonally adjusted from the previous month and increased 2.6 per cent unadjusted year-over-year.
“While it’s apparent that consumers are still holding back, the spring season helped get people back into stores,” said NRF Chief Economist Rosalind Wells. “The month-to-month sales increase was the largest we’ve seen since last November, a much welcomed reprieve.”
As consumers continue to stick to necessity-type purchases, sales in health and beauty care stores increased a solid 3.1 per cent unadjusted year-over-year and 0.4 per cent seasonally adjusted from last month.
Thanks to the onset of spring-like weather in much of the country, building material, garden equipment and supplies stores had slight sales increases for the first time in months. Sales increased 1.9 per cent seasonally adjusted from March and 1.2 per cent unadjusted year-over-year. Sporting goods, hobby, book and music stores sales also saw healthy increases. Sales rose 4.7 per cent unadjusted year-over-year and 0.4 per cent seasonally adjusted from last month.
Electronics and appliance stores sales increased 5.1 per cent unadjusted from last year and 1.4 per cent seasonally adjusted from March. Clothing and clothing accessories stores sales increased 0.7 per cent seasonally adjusted from last month and 0.5 percent unadjusted year-over-year.

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