Consumer spending and retail sales rebounded in May, signifying renewed momentum heading into the second half of the year, the National Retail Federation (NRF) said today.
According to NRF, retail sales increased 0.8 percent from April to May, excluding autos, gas and restaurants. Sales were up 1.9 percent compared to May of last year.
Over the past 12 months, retail sales have risen a solid 2.7 percent, according to data from the U.S. Commerce Department.
"With consumer confidence, employment and income improving, consumers were encouraged to open their wallets in May," said NRF Chief Economist Jack Kleinhenz. "Retail sales gains were evident across most business sectors with the exception of health and personal care stores. The improvement in retail sales is consistent with employment gains and the recent uptick in consumer credit. Adding to the strength of the report, sales for March and April were revised up."
On the whole, Kleinhenz says that retail sales are growing at a reasonable pace and regaining momentum heading into the second half of the year.
"Latest economic data show improvement in the economy and we expect stronger sales growth as jobs and income pick up. Nonetheless stronger wage growth will be necessary to sustain further gains in retail sales," Kleinhenz added.
All retail categories saw sales increases in May with the exception of electronics/appliance stores and health/personal care stores, which saw slight declines of 0.1 percent and 0.3 percent, respectively.