NRF says May retail sales rose 8.2 percent

Retail industry sales for May (which exclude automobiles, gas stations, and restaurants) rose 8.2 percent over last year and 0.2 percent seasonally adjusted over April, according to the National Retail Federation. 

“Even with easing consumer confidence, high gas prices, and rising interest rates, consumers continued to spend last month,” said NRF chief economist Rosalind Wells. “A housing market plateau and inflation and interest rate pressures will prove to be the deciding factor for the remainder of the year.”

May retail sales released today by the U.S. Commerce Department show that total retail sales (which include non-general merchandise categories such as autos, gasoline stations and restaurants) increased 9.4 percent unadjusted year-over-year and a 0.1 percent increase from the previous month, NRF says. April sales were also revised upward from initial reports of 0.5 percent to 0.8 percent. 

The strongest increase in retail sales came in the building material and gardening equipment and supplies category, with an astounding 14.4 percent growth unadjusted over last year. Electronics and appliance stores also saw healthy gains, with sales increasing 7.2 percent unadjusted from last May. Furniture and home furnishing stores were also among the top, showing a 9.1 percent increase over last year’s sales. Clothing and clothing accessories stores were among the top performers as well, with a 6.7 percent increase year-over-year. Health and personal care stores rose 7.6 percent, and sporting goods, hobby, book & music stores rose 9.3 percent unadjusted from last year.