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    May Retail Sales Up 5% from Last Year

    Driven by improved consumer confidence, spending

    Improved consumer confidence and spending helped drive retail sales in May, according to the National Retail Federation (NRF).

    In fact, May retail sales (excluding automobiles, gas stations and restaurants) increased 0.6 percent seasonally adjusted from April and increased a strong 4.8 percent unadjusted year-over-year.

    “The American consumer continues to drive the U.S. economy,” said Matthew Shay, NRF president and CEO. “In spite of fluctuating gas prices, severe weather in much of the country and fiscal policy uncertainty, consumers continue to demonstrate an inherent resiliency and flexibility.”

    Released today by the U.S. Department of Commerce, May's total retail and food services sales (which include non-general merchandise categories such as automobiles, gasoline stations and restaurants) increased 0.6 percent seasonally adjusted month-to-month and increased 4.3 percent adjusted year-over-year.

    “Stronger employment data and increasing home and equity prices lifted confidence and spending this spring,” said Jack Kleinhenz, NRF chief economist. “The economy is improving, albeit slowly, but we still have a long way to go. Stagnant salaries continue to constrain further economic acceleration. While sequester and tax increases dampened sales growth in the first quarter, it appears that the economy absorbed most of the blow.”

    Other findings from the May retail sales report include:

    • Building material and garden equipment and supplies dealers stores’ sales increased 0.9 percent seasonally-adjusted and increased 9.3 percent unadjusted year-over-year.
    • Clothing and clothing accessories stores' sales decreased 0.2 percent seasonally-adjusted month-to-month yet increased 4.8 percent unadjusted year-over-year.
    • Electronics and appliance stores’ sales decreased 0.4 percent seasonally-adjusted month-to-month and decreased 0.2 percent unadjusted year-over-year.
    • Furniture and home furnishing stores’ sales decreased 0.8 seasonally-adjusted month-to-month yet increased 0.1 percent unadjusted year-over-year.
    • General merchandise stores’ sales increased 0.5 percent seasonally-adjusted month-to-month and increased 2.3 percent unadjusted year-over-year.
    • Health and personal care stores’ sales increased 0.2 percent seasonally-adjusted month-to-month and increased 0.5 percent unadjusted year-over-year.
    • Nonstore retailers’ sales increased 0.7 percent seasonally-adjusted month-to-month and increased 11.5 percent unadjusted year-over-year.
    • Sporting goods, hobby, book and music stores’ sales increased 0.6 percent seasonally-adjusted month-to-month and increased 1.8 percent unadjusted year-over-year.

    Washington, D.C.-based NRF represents retailers of all types and sizes, including chain restaurants and industry partners, from the United States and more than 45 countries abroad.

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