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Retail sales unchanged in May

Consumer spending remained largely unchanged in May, according to the retail sales report released Thursday (June 12) by the National Retail Federation. Retail sales, which exclude automobiles, gas stations and restaurants, were unchanged month-to-month, yet sales increased 3% year-over-year, on an unadjusted basis.

Jack Kleinhenz, economist for the NRF, notes that on the surface May retail sales were disappointing and weaker than expected. But, he adds that April's upward revisions still indicate positive growth for the remainder of the year.

“Even though American consumers continue to be selective and price-sensitive, May sales were strong in many retail categories and sectors including building supply stores, furniture stores and nonstore retailers,” Kleinhenz said.

The economic fundamentals – consumer confidence, employment and income – remain strong which he said are all positive for improving retail sales.

Retail sales gains reported by sector compared to year ago.

• Building material & garden equipment & supplies sales rose 3.5%
• Clothing & clothing accessory sales rose 3.2%
• Electronics & appliance sales rose 1.3%
• Furniture & home furnishing sales rose 6.7%%
• General merchandise sales were up 1.7%
• Health & personal care sales rose 4.2%
• Online retail sales were up 5.1%
• Sporting goods, hobby, book & music sales fell 1%

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May retail sales, released today by the U.S. Census Bureau, which include categories such as automobiles, gasoline stations and restaurants, increased 0.3% seasonally adjusted month-to-month ($437.6 billion) and 4.3% adjusted year-over-year.

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