Sales at clothing and clothing accessory stores were down 2.4% year-over-year and unchanged month-over-month seasonally adjusted

Sales at clothing and clothing accessory stores were down 2.4% year-over-year and unchanged month-over-month seasonally adjusted

US retail sales regained their upward trajectory in May, demonstrating consumer resilience and confidence in the economy, new figures show. 

Retail sales were up 0.5% in May seasonally adjusted from April and up 3.2% unadjusted year-over-year, the National Retail Federation (NRF) said today. 

The numbers, which exclude automobiles, gasoline stations and restaurants, include a 4.4% rise year-over-year in online and other non-store sales, which were up 0.7% on April seasonally adjusted.

Sales at clothing and clothing accessory stores were down 2.4% year-over-year and unchanged month-over-month seasonally adjusted. 

Sales at sporting goods stores, meanwhile, slipped 2.4% year-over-year but were up 1.1% seasonally adjusted from last month. 

May's results build on a revised gain of 0.3% month-over-month and a revised 5.9% gain year-over-year in April.

Retail sales data has been unusually choppy given the economic environment in recent months which include the partial government shutdown, volatile energy prices, roller coaster equity markets, notwithstanding escalating trade tensions. May's retail sales increases were broad-based, with nearly all categories showing gains, with the only decline coming from food and beverage stores.

"Today's retail numbers, and upward revisions to prior months, reinforce the ongoing strength of the consumer and are consistent with a pick up in the pace of the economy in the coming months," NRF chief economist Jack Kleinhenz said. "The strong job market, recent income gains and elevated confidence translates into ongoing support for spending. Households, in the aggregate, are in solid financial condition but an escalation in trade tariffs will undoubtedly create a considerable downdraft to confidence and spending, or lead to a pullback in spending."

As of May, the three-month moving average was up 3.3% over the same period a year ago, compared with a gain of 2.9% in April. 

NRF's numbers are based on data from the US Census Bureau, which said overall May sales – including auto dealers, gas stations and restaurants – were up 0.5% seasonally adjusted from April and up 3.2% year-over-year.

Expert analysis

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