U.S. Retail Sales Edge Upward in April

       

       

WASHINGTON-Sales at U.S. retailers continued their slow but steady climb back up in April, totaling $366.4 billion on an adjusted basis or 0.4 percent ahead of March sales, according to the monthly retail-sales report from the U.S. Census Bureau.

However, the total included slippages from both the general-merchandise and furniture/home-furnishings channels—with the former registering a 0.4 percent drop in sales from March to April (including 1.5 percent decline in department-store sales), and the latter coming at 1.2 percent less than in March.

Looking at year-over-year comparisons, total April retail sales rose 8.8 percent over April 2009. Sales at general-merchandise stores were 3.9 percent above April of last year, while furniture and home-furnishings stores gained 4.6 percent.

Looking at the total, the National Retail Federation said April’s sales performance showed “evidence of a much more confident consumer compared to this time last year.” NRF’s president and chief executive officer, Matt Shay, said, “The slow road to recovery is turning into a spring as retailers experienced a nice bounce in April.”

Rosalind Wells, NRF’s chief economist, said April sales benefited from spring shopping patterns and seasonal weather. “Spending on discretionary items had fallen by the wayside these last few years,” Wells said, “and we are encouraged to see consumers dipping into that pot once again.”