Though retail sales rose for the 11th straight month in May, rising gas prices and a weak labor market took the steam out of consumer spending, with only a few retail sectors reporting growth over April.

Retail sales at sporting goods, hobby, book and music stores reached $7.34 billion in May, down 0.4 percent from April and up 5.2 percent from May 2010, according to advance estimates released by the U.S. Census Bureau. That compared to a 0.1 percent increase of retail industry sales (which exclude automobiles, gas stations, and restaurants) over April and 5.0 percent unadjusted year-over-year increase, according to NRF calculations.

Retailers are not surprised to see the momentum in consumer spending slowing, given the lackluster performance of employment and housing, said National Retail Federation (NRF) President and CEO Matthew Shay.
For the three months ended May 2011, the report estimates sales at sporting goods, hobby, book and music stores were up 5.9 percent from the comp 2010 period.

May retail sales by clothing and accessories stores, meanwhile, were off 0.2 percent from April, but up 6.0 percent from May 2010.