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Retail sales inch up in April led by building supply/garden supply stores

Gardening supplies
Core retail sales rose 0.4% month-over-month in April.

Consumer spending grew in April but at a more moderate pace as consumers continued to search for value.

Core retail sales (excluding restaurants, automobiles and gasoline) rose 0.4% month-over-month (MoM) in April and were down 0.05% year-over-year (YoY), according to the CNBC/NRF Retail Monitor released by the National Retail Federation. That compared with increases of 0.23% MoM and 2.92% YoY in March.

The YoY decline appeared to be an anomaly reflecting that Easter fell in April last year but came in March this year, the NRF said. Also, April had two fewer weekend days this year. Despite the drop, total sales were up 1.82% YoY for the first four months of the year and core sales were up 2.31%.

Total retail sales, excluding automobiles and gasoline but including restaurants, rose 0.26% MoM in April, but were down 0.6% YoY in April. That compared with increases of 0.36% MoM and 2.72% YoY in March.

April sales were up in all but one category — grocery and beverage stores —on a monthly basis and were up in five out of nine retail categories on a yearly basis. Building and garden supply stores had the biggest increase in April, with sales up 4.39% MoM and 4.41% YoY.

 Other specifics from key sectors are below.

•Online and other non-store sales were up 1.18% MoM and up 13.88% YoY.

•Health and personal care stores were up 0.85% MoM and up 5.26% YoY.

.•Clothing and accessories stores were up 0.46% MoM and up 2.08% YoY.

•General merchandise stores were up 0.26% MoM and up 0.69% YoY.

•Sporting goods, hobby, music and book stores were up 0.26% MoM but down 0.38% YoY.

•Electronics and appliance stores were up 2.14% MoM but down 1.55% YoY.

•Furniture and home furnishings stores were up 1.67% MoM but down 3.28% YoY.

•Grocery and beverage stores were down 1.11% MoM and down 4.46% YoY.

 Unlike survey-based numbers collected by the Census Bureau, the Retail Monitor uses actual, anonymized credit and debit card purchase data compiled by Affinity Solutions and does not need to be revised monthly or annually.

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