Retail Spending Outlook Brightens

Retail Sales Trends - MacroSavvy

The spending outlook looks brighter in light of an April pickup in retail sales led by clothing, grocery, drug, and online stores, according to the latest U.S. retail numbers.

Growth outside of traditional retail stores also picked up with a jump in sales at auto dealers. And gasoline sales took a bigger bite out of sales, given the recent pickup in fuel prices.

  • In April, seasonally adjusted sales excluding autos, food service, and fuel was up a relatively strong 4.5% from a year ago. That is better than a 3.9% average pace for 2015, which was revised upward with this data release. These measures exclude gasoline and fuel dealers.
  • Home improvement stores slowed month-to-month from a strong March, but remain a growth leader on a year-to-year basis.
  • Despite the month-to-month pickup, clothing and grocery stores remain weak when measured on a year-to-year and year-to-date basis.
  • Big-box stores—mass retail and department stores—turned flat in April and remain weak by year-to-year and year-to-date measures.

See the table summary for more detail.

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