Sales at clothing and clothing accessory stores were down 0.4% year-over-year

Sales at clothing and clothing accessory stores were down 0.4% year-over-year

A decline in sales at US clothing retailers in April did not prevent US retail sales from building on improvement seen in March, new figures show.

April retail sales increased 0.4% seasonally adjusted over March and 2.8% year-over-year as consumers continued to spend, according to figures from the National Retail Federation (NRF).

The March numbers, which exclude automobiles, gasoline stations, and restaurants, include a 12.2% rise year-over-year in online and other non-store sales, which were up 0.6% over March seasonally adjusted.

The numbers are based on data from the US Census Bureau, which said overall April sales – including automobiles, gasoline and restaurants – were up 0.3% seasonally adjusted from March and up 4.7% year-over-year.

Sales at clothing and clothing accessory stores were down 0.4% year-over-year but up 1.4% from March seasonally adjusted, while sporting goods stores slipped 3.8% year-over-year and down 0.1% from March seasonally adjusted.

The April results build on improvement seen in March, which was up 0.3% monthly and 5.2% year-over-year. The three-month moving average was up 4.1% over the same period a year ago, which is in-line with NRF's forecast that 2018 retail sales will grow between 3.8% and 4.4% over 2017.

"Retail sales growth remains solid and on track as households benefit from tax cuts even though they have faced unseasonable weather and bumpy financial markets," says NRF chief economist Jack Kleinhenz. "The tax cuts and higher savings levels should help consumers afford the recent surge in gasoline prices. And a solid job market, recent wage gains and elevated confidence translate into ongoing spending support."