Retail sales increase in April

Retail sales increased slightly in April in spite of poor quarterly reports by many large chains.

Overall sales – excluding automobiles, gasoline stations and restaurants – rose 0.7 percent over March, according to the National Retail Federation.

Bright spots include increases in online and other non-store sales, which were up 2.1 percent from the previous month.

Sales at furniture and home furnishings stores rose 0.7 percent, but sales at building materials and supplies stores were down 1 percent over March. Both categories typically see a lift in the spring.

"Today's retail sales data suggests that consumer activity, the primary driver of economic activity, has not lost its momentum," NRF Chief Economist Jack Kleinhenz said. "This is reflective of growth in a volatile and disrupted retail industry, where consumer engagement is evolving to reflect both new economic and changing market realities."

Apparel sales increased 1 percent seasonally adjusted over March, while general merchandise sales were flat in April. Related retailers have been hard hit, as Macy's, Kohl's and JCPenney have reported lower sales.

For more:
- see this NRF press release

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