Monthly sales slip in May, says Census Bureau

Across the U.S. retail spectrum, sales slipped in May, according to data released Wednesday by the U.S. Census Bureau. U.S. retail and food services sales for May, adjusted for seasonal variation and holiday and trading-day differences, but not for price changes, were $404.6 billion, a decrease of 0.2%

The bureau’s estimates, however, are up 5.3% compared with May 2011.

Building material and garden equipment and supplies dealers, the broad 444 NAICS category that includes home centers, lumberyards and hardware stores, showed the same pattern -- down from the previous month (-1.7%), but up from the same month a year ago (5.3%).

Consumers appear to be “taking a breath,” said National Retail Federation president and CEO Matthew Shay. “Going forward, retailers will make sure to keep a steady eye on key economic indicators, being cautious with inventory and promotions as back to school -- the second biggest time of the year -- approaches.”

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