“Retail sales are reflecting Americans’ growing concern about inflation and its impact on the cost of everything from groceries to gas,” NRF president and CEO Matthew Shay says. “Retailers are doing what they can to keep prices down, but we continue our call on the administration to repeal unnecessary and costly tariffs on goods from China to relieve pressure on American consumers and their family budgets.”
Shay’s comments come as the US Census Bureau reports overall retail sales in May were down 0.3% seasonally adjusted from April but up 8.1% year over year. That compared with increases of 0.7% month over month and 7.8% year over year in April.
Sales at clothing and clothing accessories stores edged up 0.1% compared to April but were up by 6.1% on May last year, according to the US Census Bureau.
NRF’s calculation of retail sales – which excludes automobile dealers, gasoline stations and restaurants to focus on core retail – showed May was unchanged seasonally adjusted from April but up 6.7% unadjusted year over year. In April, sales were up 0.4% month over month and up 5.5% year over year.
NRF’s numbers were up 5.4% unadjusted year over year on a three-month moving average as of May. Sales were up 7.3% year over year for the first five months of the year.
May sales were up in eight out of nine categories on a yearly basis, with clothing and clothing accessory stores edging up 0.1% month over month seasonally adjusted and up 6% unadjusted year over year.
Sporting goods stores were up 0.4% month over month seasonally adjusted and up 1.2% unadjusted year over year, while online and other non-store sales were down 1% month over month seasonally adjusted but up 8.5% unadjusted year over year.
NRF Chief Economist Jack Kleinhenz adds: “There’s been little relief from inflation, and we expected some cooling off in sales in reaction to prices. There have been swings across sectors that reflect the impact of both higher prices and supply chain disturbances, and higher interest rates are expected to curb spending going forward. As inflation continues, consumers are looking for ways to stretch their dollars by saving less, tapping into savings accumulated during the pandemic and increasing their use of credit.”
Last month, the US Census Bureau reported sales at clothing stores were up by 0.8% and 8% month-on-month and year-on-year, respectively.