United States Retail

United States

Retail sales slow again in May after spring rebound

In May, retail sales increased 0.3% over the previous month in nominal terms. The print was down from the upward revised 0.5% expansion recorded in April (previously reported: +0.1% month-on-month) and came in below market expectations of a 0.6% increase. Growth in retail sales decelerated in the two months following March’s 1.5% increase that was driven by pent-up consumer demand from the harsh winter. A drop in sales at general merchandise stores, clothing retailers, and electronic and appliance outlets drove the deceleration.

Retail sales excluding cars and gas—a closely watched subcategory of the retail trade index—were flat over the previous month in May. The reading came in slightly below the 0.3% expansion recorded in April (previously reported: -0.1% mom) and undershot market expectations of a 0.5% increase.

Retail sales rose 4.3% compared to the same month last year and came in just below the revised 4.6% increase recorded in April (previously reported: +4.0% year-on-year). The annual trend was steady, with annual average growth in retail sales holding at April’s 3.9% in May.

FocusEconomics Consensus Forecast panelists expect private consumption to grow 2.8% in 2014, which is up 0.2 percentage points from last month’s forecast. For 2015, the panel sees private consumption increasing 2.9%.

Author:, Economist

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United States Retail Chart

USA Retail May 2014

Note: Month-on-month and year-on-year variation of nominal retail sales in %.
Source: United States Census Bureau

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