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After a two-month shopping spree, consumers hold back in May

By Press Releases
June 11, 2010 11:34 AM

Washington, June 11, 2010 – The spur in economic activity hit a small speed bump last month as the latest retail sales report shows evidence of a more timid shopper. According to the National Retail Federation, May retail industry sales (which exclude automobiles, gas stations, and restaurants) decreased 1.4 percent seasonally adjusted over April and increased 2.7percent unadjusted year-over-year.

May 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) decreased 1.2 percent seasonally adjusted over April and increased 6.3 percent unadjusted year-over-year. 

“May retail sales results represent a reminder of the uncertainly that still exists in the economy,” said NRF President and CEO Matt Shay. “The road to recovery is paved with caution as consumers remain concerned about key indicators such as employment and housing.”

“Even though May sales were not as strong as previous months, we remain encouraged by the steady pace of the economic recovery,” said Rosalind Wells, Chief Economist for NRF. “Ultimately consumer momentum will be tied to our economy’s ability to add private sector jobs.” 

While not as robust as seen over the course of the year so far, retail sales in some sectors did report slight increases. Sales at furniture and home furnishing stores increased 1.0 percent seasonally adjusted month-to-month and 4.6 percent unadjusted year-over-year. Sporting goods, hobby, book and music stores sales increased 0.4 percent seasonally adjusted from April and 3.3 percent unadjusted over last year. Electronics and appliance stores sales increased 0.6 percent seasonally adjusted from last month and 4.6 percent unadjusted over last year. 

Clothing and clothing accessory stores sales decreased 1.3 seasonally adjusted and increased 2.9 percent unadjusted. 

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


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