WASHINGTON (6/12/15)--After meager gains in April, retail sales jumped 1.2% in May, led by strong showings at gas stations and auto dealers.
Improvements were broad based, however, as excluding gas and autos, sales climbed 0.7% during the month (Economy.com June 11).
“The May sales report was a breath of fresh air, suggesting that consumers are spending a little more freely now that winter is firmly behind us,” said Scott Hoyt, Moody’s analyst (Economy.com). “Retail sales growth has averaged 1% over the last three months, (while) sales had declined an average of 0.7% per month the prior three months.”
Retail sales growth topped 2% at gas stations, vehicle dealers and building supply stores in May, and exceeded 1% at apparel stores and nonstore retailers. Restaurants, electronics and appliances stores, and grocery stores also recorded modest gains.
On an annual basis, sales climbed 2.7% in May, the strongest improvement since January.
The year-over-year growth was driven by auto dealers, restaurants, sporting goods and hobby stores, and nonstore retailers.
Department stores and electronics and appliance stores posted annual declines, however.
“Consumers continue to benefit from low gasoline prices,” Hoyt said, adding, “While a negative for sales at segments that sell gasoline, this is a positive for other retailers, freeing money for future spending and supporting confidence.”