Keeping you up to date on the latest data releases.
- Retail Sales
Retail sales rose 0.5 percent in April, following a 0.9 percent gain in March. On a year-over-year basis, retail sales are up 7.6 percent. Numbers were mixed across broad categories. Nominal sales at gasoline stations led the gainers (increasing 2.7 percent), but that was likely driven by gas price increases during the month. Sales at grocery stores—up 1.5 percent in April—were also likely influenced by price increases. Elsewhere, auto sales rose 0.4 percent during the month and are up 12.2 percent over the past year. Nonstore retailers also faired well in April, with sales increasing 1.0 percent, up 15.5 percent compared with April of last year. Six out of thirteen broad industries posted sales decreases in April, with the largest declines coming from some of the discretionary spending categories: electronics & appliance stores (down 2.2 percent), sporting goods, hobby, book & music stores (down 1.9 percent), and furniture & home furnishing stores (down 1.1 percent). An alternative measure of the thrust of retail spending—“core” retail sales (sales excluding autos, building supplies, and gas stations)—edged up just 0.2 percent during the month, its smallest increase over the past four months. Still, on a year-over-year basis, the series is up 5.5 percent.