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NRF: Retail sales stagnate in ‘uninspiring’ April Print Email
Written by Jeremy Burns   
Thursday, 15 May 2014 04:03 PM America/New_York

MatthewShay-NRF-WebDespite nicer spring weather, consumers tempered their spending last month. April retail sales (excluding automobiles, gas stations and restaurants) were unchanged seasonally adjusted month-to-month, yet increased 4.7% unadjusted year-over-year, according to the National Retail Federation (NRF). Sales for the category that includes book, music, sporting goods and hobby stores increased 0.7% seasonally adjusted month-to-month, yet decreased 0.6% unadjusted year-over-year.

“The shift in Easter to April did not provide enough bounce to retailers as retail sales struggled to keep their strong spring pace,” NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay said. “With consumer spending accounting for roughly 70% of total economic activity, NRF remains hopeful that the uninspiring April retail sales figures are just a temporary seasonal fluctuation.”

April retail sales released May 13 by the U.S. Census Bureau, which include categories such as automobiles, gasoline stations and restaurants, increased 0.1% seasonally-adjusted month-to-month ($434.6 billion). The Census Bureau also reported that retail sales increased 4% adjusted year-over-year.

 “Even though retail sales were weaker than anticipated, the fundamentals of the economy, including improving job growth and income gains, remain positive,” NRF Chief Economist Jack Kleinhenz said. “While the shift in Easter played into the seasonal figures, NRF remains optimistic that retail sales will keep their positive trajectory, albeit in fits-and-starts, in the second quarter.”