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Economy Still on Mend
Tuesday, June 18, 2013 10:05 AM

May retail sales surprised analysts on the upside and increased 0.6 percent on the month and were up 4.3 percent from a year ago. Retail sales excluding just autos and excluding both autos and gasoline were up 0.3 percent from April, much as expected. On the year, they were up 2.8 percent and 4.1 percent respectively, indicating a moderate but healthy growth in consumer spending.

Most sales sub-categories were up on the month. Auto sales were up 1.8 percent, gaining for a second consecutive month after increasing 0.7 percent in April. Sales at gasoline stations edged down 0.2 percent thanks to declining prices (seasonally adjusted). Elsewhere, furniture and home furnishing stores (down 0.8 percent), electronics & appliances (down 0.4 percent) and clothing & accessories (down 0.2 percent) were generally all down on the month. All other categories advanced with building materials climbing 0.9 percent, food rising 0.7 percent and sporting goods increasing 0.6 percent.

This report is a positive for consumer sector growth in the second quarter, putting sales up at a seasonally adjusted rate of 2.3 percent from the first quarter average.  Second quarter GDP growth may be sluggish but not quite as sluggish as earlier thought for personal consumption growth.

(Source: Econoday Summary, 17 June 2013)