Retail Spending Trend Cools in May as Expected

The retail spending trend cooled as expected in May from a relatively strong prior month. Home-related stores and big-box mass retailers weighed on the trend most of all.

The letup is consistent with the prediction of the Spending Confidence Index™ (found here) that consumer spending plans will moderate led by discretionary goods, including homegoods.

Also weighing on growth at traditional retail stores was a month-to-month pick up at auto dealers, gasoline stations, and food service sales, according to a first look at the latest U.S. retail numbers.

  • Retail Sales Trends - MacroSavvyIn May, seasonally adjusted sales excluding autos, food service, and fuel moderated to 3.7% growth. That’s softer than growth above 4.0% the prior month and off the 3.9% average pace for 2015. These measures exclude gasoline and fuel dealers.
  • Online and other nonstore retailers remain the growth leader among retail segments across all measures.
  • Clothing stores picked up month-to-month, but remain flat-to-negative on a year-to-year and year-to-date basis.
  • Drug stores were stronger across all measures in May.

See the table summary for more detail.

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