Subscribe to our free, weekly email newsletter!


May retail sales show flat growth, say Commerce and NRF

By Jeff Berman, Group News Editor
June 14, 2011

As mounting evidence indicates that slow economic growth is prevalent, retail sales numbers released today were essentially flat in May compared to April and were up on an annual basis, according to data from the United States Department of Commerce and the National Retail Federation (NRF).

May retail sales, which include non-general merchandise like automobiles, gasoline, and restaurants, were $387.1 billion for a 0.2 percent decrease from April and a 7.7 percent increase compared to May 2010, according to Commerce data. Commerce said that total retail sales from March through May were up 7.5 percent annually.

May also represents the 11th straight month of increased annual retail sales.

The NRF reported that May retail sales, which exclude automobiles, gas stations, and restaurants, were up 0.1 percent from April on a seasonally-adjusted basis and up 5.0 percent unadjusted year-over-year.

“After a string of disappointing government reports relating to first quarter growth and employment, May’s retail report supports the idea of the economy hitting a soft patch,” said NRF Chief Economist Jack Kleinhenz in a statement. “Though consumers are spending cautiously, we are not seeing them cut out new purchases completely, signaling there is a distinct appetite to spend if economic conditions let them.”

In tune with flat retail sales is an ostensible stalling in freight growth to a certain degree as evidenced by recent reports from the American Trucking Associations and Cass Information Systems. Recent reports from both concerns show that freight growth is in a holding pattern brought on my high fuel prices, a crippled housing market, and lack of meaningful job growth, among other factors.

And with a recent lull in fuel prices there still remains a distinct possibility that retail sales will remain at current levels in the coming months. Freight volumes, specifically on the trucking side, are displaying volumes that are still well below pre-recession levels. But shippers and carriers maintain that retail-related tonnage will continue to display growth in the coming months but remain largely unsure to what degree.

A less-than-truckload executive said in an interview that factors like sluggish consumer confidence levels, sluggish GDP projections and high unemployment are making the case for flat retail growth overall.

“Business levels for retail sales are softer than originally anticipated,” he said. “Looking at the second half of the year there is a bit of concern that the economy will not be as robust as initially thought.”

About the Author

Jeff Berman headshot
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. .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).


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!

Recent Entries

The Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) reported this week that U.S. trade with its North America Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) partners Canada and Mexico increased 5.4 percent from May 2013 to May 2014 at $103.9 billion.

With an eye on making transportation of crude oil by rail (CBR) and ethanol safer following various tragic accidents over the last year, the United States Department of Transportation yesterday released details regarding its rulemaking proposal designed to improve how large quantities of flammable materials by rail can be moved in a safer manner.

Getting items ordered online to your home on a same-day basis is as important or relevant as it needs to be, and it depends on things like the type of products being ordered and its relative urgency as well. This was put into better perspective for me during a recent conversation I had with Dr. Victor Allis, CEO of Quintiq, a supply chain vendor specializing in a single optimization and planning platform.

Diesel prices dropped for the third straight week, with the average price per gallon seeing a 2.5 percent decline to $3.869 per gallon, according to the Department of Energy’s Energy Information Administration (EIA).

Seasonally-adjusted (SA) for-hire truck tonnage in June dropped 0.8 percent on the heels of a revised 0.9 percent (from 1.0 percent) increase in May and was up 2.3 percent annually.

Comments

Post a comment
Commenting is not available in this channel entry.


© Copyright 2013 Peerless Media LLC, a division of EH Publishing, Inc • 111 Speen Street, Ste 200, Framingham, MA 01701 USA