After a disappointing start, American retailers are hoping the latest Retail Sales data confirms the early season setback was just a temporary and seasonal blip.
Released each month by the U.S. Census Bureau, Retail Sales consists of receipts from the sale of goods and products to consumers. It is a broad-based measure that includes both traditional retail stores and online-retailers across 13 categories, including electronics, autos, clothing, food and beverage, gasoline and furniture, among others. Data incorporates all in-store, catalog and internet sales. Excluded from the Retail Sales data, however, are most consumer services such as medical and health care, travel, construction and entertainment.
Retail Sales data represents a large part of overall consumer spending. Consumer spending is the main driver of the economy and accounts for more than two-thirds of all U.S. economic activity.
In April, Retail Sales increased by 0.3 percent, up 4.7 percent from the prior year. This was below March’s 0.8 percent surge and annual growth of 4.9 percent but marked the second consecutive month of growth for the retail industry.
Retailers saw growth in 9 of 13 categories, led by strength in furniture, gas stations and clothing. The four categories that declined were electronics and appliances, health and personal care, restaurants and bars, and sporting goods, hobby, books and…