US retail sales in May rose 4.8% on last year thanks to “improved consumer confidence and spending”, according to the National Retail Federation (NRF).

NRF figures – which exclude food services, cars and gasoline stations – also showed a 0.6% increase compared to April, seasonally adjusted.

Meanwhile, US Department of Commerce numbers, which include restaurants, cars and gasoline, suggested a 0.6% monthly increase and a 4.3% rise on last May.

It was a mixed picture for clothing and clothing accessories stores, which posted a 0.2% fall in sales on April, but rose 4.8% year-on-year, while sporting goods, hobby, book and music stores sales registered respective increases of 0.6% and 1.8%.

“Stronger employment data and increasing home and equity prices lifted confidence and spending this spring,” said NRF chief economist Jack Kleinhenz.

“The economy is improving, albeit slowly, but we still have a long way to go. Stagnant salaries continue to constrain further economic acceleration.

“While sequester and tax increases dampened sales growth in the first quarter, it appears that the economy absorbed most of the blow.”