Americans continued their shopping spree buoyed by strengthening labor market, tax reform and rising incomes. U.S. retail sales rose again in the month of May, clearly indicating that the economy remains well on track after a muted start to the year. These factors along with firming inflation allowed the Federal Reserve to raise the benchmark interest rate for the second time this year.
Consumers are splurging on clothing, flocking department stores and buying motor vehicles, even as they shell out more for gasoline.
Certainly, consumer spending — one of the pivotal factors driving the economy — is likely to remain strong in the months ahead. This is well reflected from an unexpected fall in the number of Americans claiming unemployment benefits and jobless rate hovering at an 18-year low. Evidently, the economic activity continues to gain pace with second-quarter GDP rate likely to come ahead of 4%, per industry experts.
Retail Sales Continue to Pop Up
The Commerce Department stated that U.S. retail and food services sales in May advanced 0.8% to $502 billion, following an upwardly revised reading of 0.4% gain in April. Notably, retail sales improved 5.9% from May 2017.
The report suggests that sales at motor vehicles and parts dealers rose 0.5%, while at food services & drinking places the metric increased 1.3%. Meanwhile, sales at general merchandise stores and building material dealers grew 1.2% and 2.4%, respectively. Receipts at gasoline stations rose 2%, while sales at clothing & clothing accessories stores improved 1.3%.
Sales at non-store retailers inched up 0.1% but surged 9.1% from the prior-year period. At electronics & appliance stores sales climbed 0.2%.
However, sales at sporting goods, hobby, book & music stores dipped 1.1%, while at furniture & home furnishing stores the same fell 2.4%.
Retail Stocks to Sustain Momentum
Pick up in retail sales is welcome news for retailers, whose fortunes depend upon consumers’ willingness to spend….