WASHINGTON-While the month-to-month rate of growth slowed significantly, U.S. retailers continued to enjoy the early-spring warm weather in April, posting sales of $408 billion, 0.1 percent greater than March retail sales and 6.1 percent ahead of April of last year, according to this morning’s report on retail sales from the U.S. Census Bureau.
The April results were mixed for retail channels that sell home furnishings. Furniture and home furnishings stores reported sales increases of 0.7 percent versus March and 7.6 percent ahead of April 2011. General merchandise stores saw month-to-month sales slip 0.1 percent while picking up 2.6 percent year over year. Department stores (excluding leased departments) registered sales drops of 1.4 percent versus March and 2.6 percent compared to last year’s April.
Even with the softer consumer-spending patterns that emerged in April, Matthew Shay, president and CEO of the National Retail Federation, said last month was the 22nd consecutive month of retail sales growth. The “solid sales growth” seen in the spring is “a positive indicator we’re headed in the right direction,” Shay said.