United States Retail May 2021

United States

United States: Retail sales deteriorate in May

June 15, 2021

Retail sales dropped 1.3% month-on-month in seasonally-adjusted terms in May (April: +0.9% mom). The figure was largely due to a contraction in motor vehicle and parts dealers sales. In addition, general merchandise stores sales contracted at a steeper rate. Lastly, non-store retailers sales decreased at a sharper rate, while gasoline stations sales gained momentum.

On an annual basis, retail sales rose at a more moderate pace of 28.1% in May (April: +53.4% yoy). Meanwhile, annual average retail sales growth rose to 11.8% in May (April: +9.0%). This signals an improving trend in the retail trade sector.

Commenting on May’s print, analysts at Oxford Economics stated:

“Satiated demand and higher prices for goods weighed on consumers’ buying attitudes. While upcoming retail sales reports will likely have a similar blueprint to the May release, they shouldn’t be viewed as a sign of wary households but rather a sign that vaccinated consumers are rotating their spending into services.”

FocusEconomics Consensus Forecast panelists see private consumption growing 7.7% in 2021, which is up 0.4 percentage points from last month’s forecast. For 2022, the panel sees private consumption increasing 4.3%.


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United States Retail May 2021

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


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