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Washington, May 14, 2010 – Retail sales continued their upward climb in April, showing evidence of a much more confident consumer compared to this time last year.
According to the National Retail Federation, April retail industry sales (which exclude automobiles, gas stations, and restaurants) increased 0.5 percent seasonally adjusted over March and 4.6 percent unadjusted year-over-year.
With a constantly-shifting Easter holiday, retailers typically look at March and April sales combined to gauge consumer spending. Sales for the two months increased 5.6 percent unadjusted over last year.
April retail sales released today by the U.S. Commerce Department show total retail sales (which include non-general merchandise categories such as autos, gasoline stations and restaurants) increased 0.4 percent seasonally adjusted over March and 9.3 percent unadjusted year-over-year.
“The slow road to recovery is turning into a sprint as retailers experienced a nice bounce in April,” said NRF President and CEO Matt Shay.
“But maintaining this sales momentum will be challenging. Until our economy begins to create jobs and reduce unemployment, the breadth and sustainability of this recovery remains uncertain.”
“Spring shopping and seasonal weather helped boost sales last month,” said Rosalind Wells, Chief Economist for NRF.
“Spending on discretionary items had fallen by the wayside these last few years and we are encouraged to see consumers dipping into that pot once again.”
Clothing and clothing accessory store sales decreased 1.0 percent seasonally adjusted from March but increased 5.4 percent unadjusted year-over-year.
Building material and garden equipment stores saw the biggest improvement with sales increasing 6.9 percent seasonally adjusted month-to-month and 14.1 percent unadjusted year-over-year. Health and personal care stores sales increased 0.9 percent seasonally adjusted from last month and 3.3 percent unadjusted year-over-year.
Electronics and appliance store sales decreased 0.4 percent seasonally adjusted month-to-month and increased 4.4 percent unadjusted from last year.
As the world's largest retail trade association and the voice of retail worldwide, the National Retail Federation's global membership includes retailers of all sizes, formats and channels of distribution as well as chain restaurants and industry partners from the U.S. and more than 45 countries abroad.
In the U.S., NRF represents the breadth and diversity of an industry with more than 1.6 million American companies that employ nearly 25 million workers and generated 2009 sales of $2.3 trillion. www.nrf.com