Clothing & accessory stores retail sales rise in May, NRF

13 Jun '08
2 min read

With a little help from Uncle Sam, consumers headed back into the stores in May.

According to the National Retail Federation, retail industry sales for May (which exclude automobiles, gas stations, and restaurants) jumped 3.8 percent unadjusted over last year and 0.9 percent seasonally adjusted month-to-month.

May retail sales released by the U.S. Commerce Department show total retail sales (which include non-general merchandise categories such as autos, gasoline stations and restaurants) increased 1.0 percent seasonally adjusted from the previous month and increased 3.0 percent unadjusted year-over-year.

“Thanks to the tax rebate checks consumers received last month, the economy got a nice shot in the arm,” said NRF Chief Economist Rosalind Wells.

“It's evident consumers are feeling a bit more confident about their expenditures, especially with both April and May sales seeing positive increases in many sectors.”

As predicted in NRF's tax rebate consumer spending surveys, most shoppers hit discounters and grocery stores in May, stocking up on necessity items.

Sales at grocery stores increased 0.6 percent seasonally adjusted from April and 8.5 percent unadjusted year-over-year.

General merchandise stores sales increased 1.2 percent seasonally adjusted month-to-month and 7.4 percent unadjusted from last year.

While many consumers focused on groceries and other necessary items, some did splurge. Sales at electronic and appliance stores increased 0.7 percent seasonally adjusted month-to-month and a solid 4.4 percent unadjusted year-over-year.

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