WASHINGTON — After a strong first quarter, consumers in May took a more practical approach to their spending. According to a National Retail Federation release on Wednesday, May retail sales (excluding automobile, gas stations and restaurants) decreased 0.3% seasonally adjusted from April but increased 4.8% unadjusted year over year, marking 23 consecutive months of retail sales growth.
“As the first industry to feel any backlash from consumers’ attitudes about the revival of the economy, retailers are far from discouraged by May’s sales report; it’s evident that consumers are simply taking a breath,” stated NRF president and CEO Matthew Shay. “Going forward, retailers will make sure to keep a steady eye on key economic indicators, being cautious with inventory and promotions as back to school — the second biggest time of the year — approaches.”
May retail sales, released today by the U.S. Department of Commerce, showed total retail and food services sales — which includes nongeneral merchandise categories, such as automobiles, gasoline stations, and restaurants — decreased 0.2% seasonally adjusted month to month but increased 7.1% unadjusted year over year.
Health and personal care stores’ sales decreased 0.1% seasonally adjusted month to month but increased 3.1% unadjusted year over year.