Sales at retailers classified as NAICS 444, the overarching category for hardware and building supply dealers, jumped in April to an unadjusted estimate of $47.8 billion, up from $35.9 billion in the same month a year ago – a 33% jump.
Sales at hardware stores (NAICS 44413) are not reported for April. But the March numbers for this subset are $2.91 billion, up 23% from the same month one year ago.
While impressive, home center sales growth was dwarfed by other retail categories that are reopening and are comparing against periods of pandemic shut-down. Sporting goods, Furniture and clothing retailers were up 155%, 196% and an eye-popping 726%, respectively.
“Today’s year-over-year numbers are off the charts in some categories, reflecting the disparity between retailers that could remain open a year ago and those that were forced to shut down," said NRF Chief Economist Jack Kleinhenz.
Looking at the big picture, retail sales were virtually unchanged from their strong performance a month before and grew dramatically year-over-year in April., The recovering U.S. economy marked a full year since the coronavirus pandemic shut down most stores during the spring of 2020.
“In March, we saw a surge in spending as stimulus checks came in, and that spending declined slightly in April,” said National Retail Federation President and CEO Matthew Shay. “Year-over-year growth of 28.8% demonstrates that household finances remain strong, and the economic recovery will likely continue to gain steam as we head into the summer months. The CDC’s updated guidance for fully vaccinated individuals will help further open the economy and get more people back to work.”
See the government's monthly retail sales report here.