Retail Sales Fall for First Time in 11 Months

In May, U.S. retail sales registered their first decline in
11 months, according to statistics released by the U.S. Census Bureau.

Advanced estimates of U.S. retail and food services sales
for May were $387.1 billion, a decrease of 0.2 percent from the previous month,
but 7.7 percent above May 2010. 

Retail sales rose 0.3 percent in April.

However, sales of Clothing and Clothing Accessories jumped in May. Sales were up 0.2 percent from April, and up 6
percent from the May 2010.

The National Retail Federation reported slightly better results. According to the group, retail sales in May increased 0.1 percent seasonally adjusted from April, and 5 percent unadjusted year-over-year.  

“After a string of disappointing government reports relating to economic activity and employment, May’s retail report supports the idea of the economy hitting a soft patch,” said NRF chief economist Jack Kleinhenz in a statement. “Though consumers are spending cautiously, we are not seeing them cut out new purchases completely, signaling there is a distinct appetite to spend if economic conditions let them.”