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US Retail Sales Gain as Inflation Eases

May 17, 2023  |  Leah Meirovich

US retail sales rose in April as inflation softened and the job market strengthened, boosting consumer sentiment.

Revenue grew 0.4% versus the previous month to $686.1 billion — adjusted for seasonal variation — compared with a 0.7% decrease in March, according to data the US Census Bureau released Tuesday. Salary increases and competitive pricing from retailers also affected sales.

“Retail sales rebounded in April, reflecting consumer resilience in the face of elevated economic uncertainty,” said National Retail Federation (NRF) CEO Matthew Shay. “Moderating price levels, continued labor-market strength and wage gains have increased consumers’ ability to spend. Retailers continue to provide competitive pricing and convenience to help cost-sensitive consumers stretch their budgets.”

Sales climbed 1.6% from the same month in 2022, but growth was still lower than March’s 2.4% year-on-year increase, the NRF noted. However, the federation expects sales to continue to rise.

“Consumers remained engaged in April,” explained NRF chief economist Jack Kleinhenz. “Shoppers are being selective and price-sensitive, but we continue to expect that spending will see modest gains through the course of the year.”

In April, sales advanced year on year in only four of the nine categories the US Census Bureau monitors. The clothing and accessories segment — which includes jewelry — slid 4.1% and dropped 0.3% from March. Online sales across all products grew 6% relative to a year ago and gained 1.2% compared with the previous month.

Image: Shoppers at a mall. (Shutterstock)


US Retail Sales Gain as Inflation Eases

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