US seasonally adjusted retail sales excluding automobiles, gas stations and restaurants unchanged in April from March, rose 4.7% year-over-year on unadjusted basis as shift in Easter to April fails to provide lift for retailers: NRF

WASHINGTON , May 13, 2014 (press release) – Despite nicer spring weather, consumers tempered their spending in the month of April. According to the National Retail Federation – the world's largest retail trade association – April retail sales, which exclude automobiles, gas stations and restaurants, were unchanged seasonally-adjusted month-to-month yet increased 4.7 percent 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 percent of total economic activity, NRF remains hopeful that the uninspiring April retail sales figures are just a temporary seasonal fluctuation.”

April retail sales, released today by the U.S. Census Bureau, which include categories such as automobiles, gasoline stations, and restaurants, increased 0.1 percent seasonally-adjusted month-to-month ($434.6 billion). The Census Bureau also reported that retail sales increased 4.0 percent 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.”

Additional findings from NRF’s retail sales analysis include:

• Building material and garden equipment and supplies dealers stores’ sales increased 0.4 percent seasonally-adjusted month-to-month and 2.7 percent unadjusted year-over-year.

• Clothing and clothing accessories stores' sales increased 1.2 percent seasonally-adjusted month-to-month and 5.2 percent unadjusted year-over-year.

• Electronics and appliance stores’ sales decreased 2.3 percent seasonally-adjusted month-to-month and 1.8 percent unadjusted year-over-year.

• Furniture and home furnishing stores’ sales decreased 0.6 percent seasonally-adjusted month-to-month yet increased 3.6 percent unadjusted year-over-year.

• General merchandise stores’ sales increased 0.2 percent seasonally-adjusted month-to-month and 5.3 percent unadjusted year-over-year.

• Health and personal care stores’ sales increased 0.6 percent seasonally-adjusted month-to-month and 6.6 percent unadjusted year-over-year.

• Nonstore retailers’ sales decreased 0.9 percent seasonally-adjusted month-to-month yet increased 5.8 percent unadjusted year-over-year.

• Sporting goods, hobby, book and music stores’ sales increased 0.7 percent seasonally-adjusted month-to-month yet decreased 0.6 percent unadjusted year-over-year.

NRF is the world’s largest retail trade association, representing discount and department stores, home goods and specialty stores, Main Street merchants, grocers, wholesalers, chain restaurants and Internet retailers from the United States and more than 45 countries. Retail is the nation’s largest private sector employer, supporting one in four U.S. jobs – 42 million working Americans. Contributing $2.5 trillion to annual GDP, retail is a daily barometer for the nation’s economy. NRF’s This is Retail campaign highlights the industry’s opportunities for life-long careers, how retailers strengthen communities, and the critical role that retail plays in driving innovation. www.nrf.com

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