Retail sales inch up 0.1% in April

The U.S. economy posted lower-than-expected growth in retail sales Tuesday. An advance estimate of $434.6 billion in sales reflected a mere 0.1% increase since March and 4.0% since April 2013.

Retail trade sales (not including food services) were up 0.2% since last month and 4.2% above last year. Auto and other motor vehicle dealers were up 10.5% year-over-year.

Building material & garden equipment & supplies dealers (NAICS 444) did better than average, up 0.4% since March.

Those posting the strongest monthly growth in April included department stores (up 1.8%) and clothing & clothing accessories stores (1.2%). On a year-over-year basis, nonstore retailers trailed auto and motor vehicle dealers at a growth rate of 6.5%, followed by health & personal care stores (5.8%).

Electronics & appliance stores suffered the biggest blow in April, dropping 2.3%. Miscellaneous store retailers suffered an identical fate.

April's estimate is a slight improvement over March's upwardly revised figure, with a February to March percent change of 1.5% (rather than 1.2%).

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