US retail sales rebounded in April after sluggish winter

Pickup in US retail sales adds to steady consumer spending

Washington, DC, May 12, 2017-Advance estimates of U.S. retail and food services sales for April 2017 were $474.9 billion, an increase of 0.4% from the previous month, and 4.5% above April 2016, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Commerce reported that nonstore retailers April sales increased 11.9 percent annually.

The NRF added that on a three-month moving average, retail sales have grown 2.6 percent annually.

Sales at USA retailers rose in April, and March sales were stronger than originally estimated, painting a stronger picture of American consumers than previously reported.

Sales by non-store retailers, electronics and appliance stores, and building materials and supplies dealers saw significant growth.

Sales at clothing and accessories specialty stores were virtually unchanged compared to April 2016, but decreased on a 12-month smoothed basis, according to revised figures.

Sales in a category that includes department stores, as well as general retailers such as Wal-Mart, fell 0.5 percent in April, the government said.

But sales at clothing stores fell 0.5% on March, but were 0.5% higher than April past year.

While retail is in a state of flux, the source of those difficulties is not mainly due to a major slowdown in consumer spending, Saunders said.

"As much as we do see some forward pressures on household finances, we also see positives from continued low gas prices, relatively full employment, and some modest gains in wages", Saunders said.

Macy's Inc and Kohl's Corp on Thursday had also reported weak sales, underscoring the struggle by brick-and-mortar retailers to attract customers amid a slump in demand for apparel and the shift to online shopping.

Still, retail chains have announced thousands of store closures so far this year, and some have filed for bankruptcy protection, as USA shoppers increasingly shift their spending to online platforms from physical storefronts and malls.

By many accounts, retail sales picked up in the later part of the first quarter of 2017; J.C. Penney CEO Marvin Ellison made a note of that in his statement on the company's report Friday morning.


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