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Friday, May 13, 2011

April Marks 10th Month of Retail Sales Growth

Retail sales increased for the tenth straight month in April, further evidence that the retail sector and consumer spending continue to lead the economic recovery, according to the National Retail Federation. However, the amount of sales growth fell short when compared to prior months.

Retail industry sales (which exclude automobiles, gas stations, and restaurants) for April increased 0.2 percent seasonally adjusted from March and 4 percent unadjusted year-over-year, a positive but modest increase compared to previous months’ results, evidence that some consumers are beginning to feel the strain of high food and gas costs, NRF said Thursday.

“With ten consecutive months of growth, retailers are on the front lines of economic recovery, though higher commodity prices are beginning to weigh on some consumers,” said Matthew Shay, NRF president and CEO.

“Positive economic indicators such as increases in job openings and wage growth are certainly helping boost consumers’ confidence, and support spending,” added Jack Kleinhenz, NRF chief economist. “While there are reasons to be optimistic, plenty of other concerns exist which could very easily shift consumers’ spending habits, including decreasing home prices, high unemployment levels and rising costs at the pump.”

April retail sales released Thursday by the U.S. Commerce Department show total retail sales (which include non-general merchandise categories such as autos, gasoline stations and restaurants) increased 0.5 percent seasonally adjusted over March and 7.8 percent unadjusted year-over-year.

The Easter holiday helped boost apparel sales in April with clothing and clothing accessory stores seeing gains of 0.3 percent seasonally adjusted over the previous month and 8.6 percent unadjusted year-over-year, NRF reports.

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