The May retail sales report released last week by the U.S. Commerce Department showed that total retail sales for general merchandise categories, which excludes autos, gasoline stations and restaurants, increased 8.2% over last year and 0.2% seasonally adjusted over April. In analyzing the data, the National Retail Federation said that the strongest increase in retail sales came in the building material and gardening equipment and supplies category, with an astounding 14.4% growth unadjusted over last year. Clothing and clothing accessories stores were among the top performers as well, with a 6.0% increase year-over-year. Sporting goods, hobby, book & music stores continued their growth with a 7.5% gain over the same month last year and a 0.7% increase from April’s figures.