Subscribe to our free, weekly email newsletter!


May retail sales show growth, according to Department of Commerce and NRF

By Jeff Berman, Group News Editor
June 13, 2013

Retail sales showed positive momentum to varying degrees in May, according to data released today by the United States Department of Commerce and the National Retail Federation (NRF).

Commerce reported that May retail sales at $421.1 billion were up 0.6 percent over April and up 4.7 percent compared to May 2012. Total sales for the March through May period were up 3.7 percent annually.

The NRF reported that May retail sales, which exclude autos, gas stations, and restaurants, rose 0.6 percent on a seasonally-adjusted basis from April and were up 4.3 percent on an unadjusted basis annually. NRF officials said that improving consumer confidence and spending helped spur the sequential and annual gains.

“Stronger employment data and increasing home and equity prices lifted confidence and spending this spring,” NRF Chief Economist Jack Kleinhenz said in a statement. “The economy is improving, albeit slowly, but we still have a long way to go. Stagnant salaries continue to constrain further economic acceleration. While sequester and tax increases dampened sales growth in the first quarter, it appears that the economy absorbed most of the blow.”

As LM has reported, with retail sales growth modest at best, there still remains a mixed bag of signals and headwinds on the economic front, including a slightly declining unemployment rate, improving consumer confidence data, as well as encouraging automotive sales and housing data.

These things continue to occur, though, against the backdrop of sluggish GDP growth and general uncertainty regarding the economy.

The continuing trend of slight or flattish sequential retail sales increases remains largely intact due to fairly even retail spending at a time when retailers remain cautious on the inventory planning side and postponing commitments until the until the economic outlook becomes clearer, while they are risking stock outages by having very lean inventories.

“These numbers look pretty decent overall,” said Eric Starks, president of freight transportation consultancy FTR Associates. “It is an environment where things are moving along and the consumer continues to spend but at the same time things are by no means red hot either. It is pretty consistent in terms of our general expectations and where the general economy has been and where we expect it to go over the next six months.”

IHS Global Insight Senior Economist Leslie Levesque observed in a research note that May’s report showed another month of strong sales at nondiscretionary retailers and losses at discretionary retailers.

“Apart from autos, consumers are staying away from big-ticket purchases and are buying more of what they need rather than what they want,” said Levesque. “However, consumers have been gaining confidence. The outlook on labor market conditions has improved and consumers are considerably more optimistic in their economic outlook. There are several positives on the consumer front: inflation is low, gasoline prices have been accommodative, the housing market is looking brighter and the stock market is strong. Looking ahead, we expect real consumer spending growth in the 2.0 percent -2.5 percent range for the year.”

IHS Top 10 Economic Predictions for 2013
IHS Top 10 Economic Predictions for 2013

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

You’ve heard the old saying, it was the best of times, it was the worst of times. Rob Handfield sees this as the best of times for procurement professionals, who have an opportunity to deliver real value to their organizations

While core metrics were down from a very impressive July, the August edition of the Non-Manufacturing Report on Business from the Institute of Supply Management (ISM) was still very strong.

The Clean Cargo Working Group (CCWG) has released a report indicating that in 2014 average CO2 emissions in the global container shipping trades declined 8.4 percent from the year before.

UPS Freight, the less-than-truckload (LTL) subsidiary of UPS, recently announced it has rolled out a new service center facility in Franklin Park, Illinois. This is the company’s fifth Chicago-area service center along with other ones in Aurora, Chicago, Palantine, and South Holland.

Putting the renewed strength in the truckload market into a very positive perspective is a report issued by Avondale Partners analyst Donald Broughton, which was released yesterday. Entitled, “Q2’15 Trucking Capacity; Goldilocks Era Continues,” Broughton explained that in the second quarter only 70 truckload fleets failed, or exited the business. That number may seem high to some, but it is not, especially when you consider that the second quarter of 2014 saw more than five times as many truckload carriers, 375 to be exact, exit the business.

Comments

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


© Copyright 2015 Peerless Media LLC, a division of EH Publishing, Inc • 111 Speen Street, Ste 200, Framingham, MA 01701 USA