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gamesindustryblog.com June 29, 2017


US retail sales rebounded in April after sluggish winter

13 May 2017, 01:20 | Ignacio Smith

US retail sales rebounded in April after sluggish winter

Pickup in US retail sales adds to steady consumer spending

The Commerce Department said Friday that retail sales increased 0.4 percent in April from March. The unemployment rate in April was 4.4%, according to the Labor Department, matching its lowest level since 2001.

Data issued today by the United States Department of Commerce and the National Retail Federation (NRF) for April retail sales were similar in that they showed mild sequential gains and larger annual gains.

The deceleration in overall growth reflected a sharp slowdown in consumer spending, which accounts for the majority of total economic output.

Purchases also improved at internet retailers, restaurants, sporting goods stores and building materials outlets. Compared to April 2016, the clothing and accessories segment was up of 1.7 percent, and general merchandise was up 0.8 percent.

Adding to retailers' problems, an unusually warm February hurt sales of winter wear, while a delay in tax refunds in the same month crimped spending in the February-April quarter.

On a 12-month smoothed basis, retail sales rose by 4.1%, their smallest increase in eight months.

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Consumer confidence has soared since the presidential election, but spending hasn't increased as much as the jump in optimism would suggest. The housing recovery has been an important variable in consumers' willingness to spend. And inflation has ticked up, eroding most of that wage gain.

Some sectors are better off than others: Department stores are faltering and apparel sales are challenged in part because of softening in the athleisure category.

IHS Markit Senior Research Director Sara Johnson was relatively optimistic about April's retail sales performance.

The Labor Department said that USA consumer prices increased by 0.2% in April, following a 0.3% fall in the previous month, taking the annual rate to 2.2%.

Closely watched core retail sales, which exclude autos, gasoline, building materials and food service, edged up by 0.2% in April after climbing by 0.7% in March.

However, the weakness at brick-and-mortar retailers is not indicative of a drop in consumer spending.



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