Retail Sales in USA

United States Retail Sales | Economic News & Forecasts

USA - Retail Sales

Retail sales jump at the fastest pace on record in May

Nominal retail sales surged at the fastest rate in the series’ near three-decade history in May, jumping 17.7% in month-on-month seasonally-adjusted terms. The result contrasted April’s 14.7% plummet and was significantly better than market expectations of an 8.0% increase. Retail sales excluding cars, gasoline, building materials and food services—also known as core retail sales—soared 12.4% in May, rebounding from April’s 15.2% plunge.

The historic rise in retail sales came as large sections of the country eased lockdown restrictions. Retail sales of clothing and accessories skyrocketed 188.0% month-on-month in May (April: -75.3% month-on-month). Moreover, retail sales of food services increased notably as restaurants came back online in May, while purchases of sporting goods, furniture, electronics and motor vehicles all surged in May after contracting sharply in April.

In annual terms, retail sales declined 6.1% in May, considerably softer than April’s 19.9% dive. Meanwhile, the annual average variation in retail sales growth fell to 0.4% from 1.2%. Lastly, for the first five months of the year retail sales were down 4.7% compared to the same period last year, but were down 10.5% in March–May—the start of the pandemic—compared to the same three months last year.

Commenting on May’s reading, Sri Thanabalasingam, an economist at TD economics, noted:

“One-time checks and expanded unemployment insurance, provided by the CARES Act, has more than offset losses in employment income for most households. This helped support the rebound in retail sales. With expanded unemployment payments set to expire in July, households could see a significant drop in income if unemployed members have not returned to work. The turnaround in the labor market in May was promising, but if it stalls, Congress should stand ready to provide additional support to American households.”

FocusEconomics Consensus Forecast panelists project private consumption to contract 6.3% in 2020, which is up 0.1 percentage points from last month’s forecast. For 2021, the panel sees private consumption increasing 4.9%.

United States - Retail Sales Data

2015   2016   2017   2018   2019  
Retail Sales (annual variation in %)2.6  3.0  4.2  4.9  3.6  

Sample Report

5 years of economic forecasts for more than 30 economic indicators.


United States Retail Sales Chart

USA Retail

United States Facts

Value Change Date
Bond Yield1.92-0.43 %Dec 31
Exchange Rate1.120.65 %Dec 31

Sample Report

Get a sample report showing our regional, country and commodities data and analysis.


Request a Trial

Start working with the reports used by the world’s major financial institutions, multinational enterprises & government agencies now. Click on the button below to get started.

Sign Up

Economic News

Search form