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05/17/2022

April Retail Sales Rise Overcoming Inflationary Challenges

The increase in prices across all categories has done little to slow spending, new figures from the federal government show.
Greg Sleter
Associate Publisher/Executive Editor
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Despite facing higher prices at every turn, consumers remained resolute in April as retail sales for the month increased.

The U.S. Census Bureau reported overall retail sales for the year’s fourth month were up 0.9% seasonally adjusted from March and up 8.2% year-over-year. That compares with increases of 1.4% month-over-month and 7.3% year-over-year in March.

The National Retail Federation’s calculation of retail sales – which excludes automobile dealers, gasoline stations and restaurants to focus on core retail – showed April was up 0.9% seasonally adjusted from March and up 6.4% unadjusted year-over-year. In March, sales were up 1% month-over-month and up 3.9% year-over-year.

“April retail sales demonstrate consumer strength and willingness to spend despite persistent inflation, supply chain constraints, market volatility and global unrest,” said Matthew Shay, president and CEO of the NRF. “While consumers are facing higher prices, they are preserving their budgets by shopping smart. 

Jack Kleinhenz, the NRF’s chief economist, said April’s retail sales data shows consumers are taking higher prices “in stride.”

Sales benefited from Easter/Passover spending and also from tax refunds, which have been delayed by pandemic-related issues at the IRS but are also larger than usual,” he said. “High gasoline prices, rising interest rates and price pressures across the board continue to be headwinds to spending, but wage and job gains are offsetting that with a tailwind that should bode well for moderate-but-steady spending growth going forward.” 

  • Online and other non-store sales were up 2.1% month-over-month seasonally adjusted and up 11.3% unadjusted year-over-year.
  • Clothing and clothing accessory stores were up 0.8% month-over-month seasonally adjusted and up 11.2% unadjusted year-over-year.
  • Grocery and beverage stores were down 0.2% month-over-month seasonally adjusted but up 8.9% unadjusted year-over-year.
  • General merchandise stores were up 0.2% month-over-month seasonally adjusted and up 3.7% unadjusted year-over-year.
  • Health and personal care stores were up 0.7% month-over-month seasonally adjusted and up 1.2% unadjusted year-over-year.
  • Furniture and home furnishings stores were up 0.7% month-over-month seasonally adjusted and up 0.9% unadjusted year-over-year.
  • Building materials and garden supply stores were down 0.1% month-over-month seasonally adjusted and down 1.2% unadjusted year-over-year.
  • Sporting goods stores were down 0.5% month-over-month seasonally adjusted and down 3.1% unadjusted year-over-year.
  • Electronics and appliance stores were up 1% month-over-month seasonally adjusted but down 4.7% unadjusted year-over-year.