May 17, 2019
Retail sales impacted by slower tax refunds and weather

Retail sales were down 0.2 percent in April seasonally adjusted from March but up 5.2 percent unadjusted year-over-year, the National Retail Federation (NRF) noted. The numbers exclude automobile dealers, gasoline stations and restaurants.

“Slower tax refunds and weather may have been key factors impacting April’s numbers, but the fundamentals remain positive, particularly in long-term comparisons,” said Jack Kleinhenz, chief economic at NRF.  He cited flooding in the middle of the country, blizzards and extreme temperature swings elsewhere along with a soft housing market impacted sales of furniture, appliances and building materials. “Despite there being a lot of volatility in the data from month to month, the long-term comparisons look good and the three-month average in particular is getting stronger. We think we remain on track to meet our projections.”

NRF’s numbers are based on data from the U.S. Census Bureau, which said today that overall April sales – including auto dealers, gas stations and restaurants – were also down 0.2 percent seasonally adjusted from March but were up 3.1 percent unadjusted year-over-year.


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