Retail industry: April sales show modest growth, according to Commerce and NRF data

Data published this week by the United States Department of Commerce and the National Retail Federation (NRF) shows that retail sales are still in a modest growth pattern.

By ·

Data published this week by the United States Department of Commerce and the National Retail Federation (NRF) shows that retail sales are still in a modest growth pattern.

April retail sales, which include non-general merchandise like automobiles, gasoline, and restaurants, were $389.4 billion for a 0.5 percent increase from March and a 7.6 percent increase compared to April 2010, according to Commerce data. Commerce said that total retail sales from February through April were up 8.1 percent annually.

April also represents the tenth straight month of increased retail sales.

The NRF reported that April retail sales, which exclude automobiles, gas stations, and restaurants, were up 0.2 percent from March on a seasonally-adjusted basis and up 4.0 percent unadjusted year-over-year.

“Positive economic indicators such as increases in job openings and wage growth are certainly helping boost consumers’ confidence, and support spending,” said NRF Chief Economist Jack Kleinhenz in a statement. “While there are reasons to be optimistic, plenty of other concerns exist which could very easily shift consumers’ spending habits, including decreasing home prices, high unemployment levels and rising costs at the pump.”

As Modern has reported, with the price per gallon of diesel fuel now officially north of $4, there remains a distinct possibility that future retail sales could tail off or remain relatively flat in the coming months. Should prices continue to increase, it has the potential to negatively off-set the slow but steady growth which has been occurring in recent months.

While fuel prices are on the rise, there has been some moderation in freight volumes, specifically on the trucking side, with volume levels still well below pre-recession levels. But shippers and carriers maintain that retail-related tonnage will continue to display growth in the coming months.

In an interview with Modern, Tim Feemster, Sr. Vice President, Director Global Logistics at Grubb & Ellis said that even though freight volumes are relatively flat, he said fuel prices have moderated the retail sales growth curve.”

“We are having a slow recovery, and higher fuel prices make it even slower,” said Feemster. “The key thing from our perspective is that things are not going down, especially when you compare it to 2009 levels.”


About the Author

Jeff Berman, Group News Editor
Jeff Berman is Group News Editor for Logistics Management, Modern Materials Handling, and Supply Chain Management Review. Jeff works and lives in Cape Elizabeth, Maine, where he covers all aspects of the supply chain, logistics, freight transportation, and materials handling sectors on a daily basis. Contact Jeff Berman

Subscribe to Logistics Management Magazine!

Subscribe today. It's FREE!
Get timely insider information that you can use to better manage your entire logistics operation.
Start your FREE subscription today!

Latest Whitepaper
How Lean is your Lean Quality Program?
Avoid quality program bureaucracy that can sap logistics productivity and increase costs
Download Today!
From the September 2016 Issue
Indecision revolving around three complex supply chain elements—transportation, technology and organizational structure—finds many companies waiting to commit to a strategic path. However, waiting too long will only result in a competitive disadvantage that will be difficult to overcome in today’s fast-paced, global economy.
Time for Asia’s ports to rebuild
Is the freight recession upon us…again?
View More From this Issue
Subscribe to Our Email Newsletter
Sign up today to receive our FREE, weekly email newsletter!
Latest Webcast
Supply Chain Best Practices: Visibility to In-Transit Inventory
During this webcast you'll learn on how various organizations have gained instant access to in-transit parcels and given access to this information to stakeholders.
Register Today!
EDITORS' PICKS
25th Annual Masters of Logistics
Indecision revolving around three complex supply chain elements—transportation, technology and...
2016 Quest for Quality: Winners Take the Spotlight
Which carriers, third-party logistics providers and U.S. ports have crossed the service-excellence...

Regional ports concentrate on growth and connectivity
With the Panama Canal expansion complete, ocean cargo gateways in the Caribbean are investing to...
Digital Reality Check
Just how close are we to the ideal digital supply network? Not as close as we might like to think....