April retail industry
sales (which exclude automobiles, gas stations, and restaurants)
increased 0.5% seasonally adjusted over March and 4.6% unadjusted year-over-year. With a constantly-shifting Easter holiday,
retailers typically look at March and April sales combined to gauge
consumer spending. Sales for the two months increased 5.6%
unadjusted over last year.

April retail sales released by
the U.S. Commerce Department show total retail sales (which include
non-general merchandise categories such as autos, gasoline stations and
restaurants) increased 0.4% seasonally adjusted over March and
9.3% unadjusted year-over-year.  

“The slow road to
recovery is turning into a sprint as retailers experienced a nice bounce
in April,” said NRF President and CEO Matt Shay. “But maintaining this
sales momentum will be challenging. Until our economy begins to create
jobs and reduce unemployment, the breadth and sustainability of this
recovery remains uncertain.”

“Spring shopping and seasonal
weather helped boost sales last month,” said Rosalind Wells, Chief
Economist for NRF. “Spending on discretionary items had fallen by the
wayside these last few years and we are encouraged to see consumers
dipping into that pot once again.” 

Building material and garden
equipment stores saw the biggest improvement with sales increasing 6.9% seasonally adjusted month-to-month and 14.1% unadjusted
year-over-year. Health and personal care stores sales increased 0.9% seasonally adjusted from last month and 3.3% unadjusted

Clothing and clothing accessory store sales
decreased 1.0% seasonally adjusted from March but increased 5.4% unadjusted year-over-year. Electronics and appliance store sales
decreased 0.4% seasonally adjusted month-to-month and increased
4.4% unadjusted from last year.