U.S. April Retail Sales Increased 2.8 Percent Over Last Year

April retail sales increased 0.4 percent seasonally adjusted over March and 2.8 percent year-over-year as consumers continued to spend, the National Retail Federation said today.

April retail sales increased 0.4 percent seasonally adjusted over March and 2.8 percent year-over-year as consumers continued to spend, the National Retail Federation said today. The numbers exclude automobiles, gasoline stations and restaurants.

“Retail sales growth remains solid and on track as households benefit from tax cuts even though they have faced unseasonable weather and bumpy financial markets,” NRF Chief Economist Jack Kleinhenz said. “The tax cuts and higher savings levels should help consumers afford the recent surge in gasoline prices. And a solid job market, recent wage gains and elevated confidence translate into ongoing spending support.”

The three-month moving average was up 4.1 percent over the same period a year ago, which is in line with NRF’s forecast that 2018 retail sales will grow between 3.8 percent and 4.4 percent over 2017.

The April results build on improvement seen in March, which was up 0.3 percent monthly and 5.2 percent year over year.

NRF’s numbers are based on data from the U.S. Census Bureau, which said overall April sales – including automobiles, gasoline and restaurants – were up 0.3 percent seasonally adjusted from March and up 4.7 percent year-over-year.

Specifics from key retail sectors during April include:

  • Online and other non-store sales were up 12.2 percent year-over-year and up 0.6 percent over March seasonally adjusted.
  • Furniture and home furnishings stores were up 5.8 percent year-over-year and up 0.8 percent from March seasonally adjusted.
  • Building materials and garden supply stores were up 5.6 percent year-over-year and up 0.4 percent from March seasonally adjusted.
  • Electronics and appliance stores were up 2.2 percent year-over-year but down 0.1 percent from March seasonally adjusted.
  • Health and personal care stores were up 0.2 percent year-over-year but down 0.4 percent from March seasonally adjusted.
  • Grocery and beverage stores were down 0.1 percent year-over-year but up 0.4 percent from March.
  • Clothing and clothing accessory stores were down 0.4 percent year-over-year but up 1.4 percent from March seasonally adjusted.
  • General merchandise stores were down 0.8 percent year-over-year but up 0.3 percent from March seasonally adjusted.
  • Sporting goods stores were down 3.8 percent year-over-year and down 0.1 percent from March seasonally adjusted.