Home Census Bureau: April Core Retail Sales Slip from March But Gain Year Over Year
May 16, 2024

Census Bureau: April Core Retail Sales Slip from March But Gain Year Over Year

Posted In: Retail Articles

The United States Census Bureau released figures indicating that retail sales moderated in April, the National Retail Federation reported.

April’s core retail sales, as defined by NRF – based on the Census data but excluding automobile dealers, gasoline stations and restaurants – slipped 0.2% seasonally adjusted from March but advanced 3.9% unadjusted year over year. Core retail sales were up 3.8% year-over-year for the first four months of 2024, in line with NRF’s forecast for retail sales growth of between 2.5% and 3.5% from 2023.

Overall retail sales in April were unchanged seasonally adjusted from March and up 3% unadjusted year over year, according to the Census Bureau. In March, overall retail sales increased 0.6% month over month and 3.8% year over year. The year-over-year increase was due, in part, to downward revisions of 2023 data.

“Even though household income and job growth are compressing, the consumer spending picture remains positive,” stated NRF chief economist Jack Kleinhenz. “The softer pace of spending is due in part to consumers being selective and prioritizing retail purchases. Yet, consumers remain willing to spend, keeping the economy afloat despite fatigue from stubbornly high inflation for services and higher interest rates.”

Earlier this month, the CNBC/NRF Retail Monitor had core April retail sales up 0.4% seasonally adjusted from March and almost essentially unchanged, down just 0.05%, year over year. In March, sales increased 0.23% month over month and 2.92% year over year. Unlike Census Bureau survey-based numbers, Retail Monitor uses anonymized credit and debit card purchase data compiled by Affinity Solutions that does not need to be revised monthly or annually.

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