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Breaking down $519 billion in sales

The latest monthly sales report has a mixed story for NAICS 444.

BY HBSDealer Staff

The Advance Monthly Sales report for retail and food services found building material and garden equipment and supplies dealers scored $40,183,000,000 in sales for the month of May. That’s up from $35,851,000,000 in the April report – an unadjusted improvement of 12.1%. Adjusted for seasonal variation and holiday and trading day differences, sales were up 0.1% for NAICS 444 retailers.

Year-over-year, sales for the same group, however, were down 1.4%, according to the U.S. Census Bureau’s estimates, released Friday morning.

Overall, U.S. retail and food services sales for May 2019, on an adjusted basis, were $519 billion, up 0.5% from the prior month, and up 3.2% from May 2018.

Total sales for the March through May period were up 3.6% from the same period a year ago.

See the Census release here.

Nonstore retailers – generally e-commerce players – were up 11.4% compared to the same month last year. Department stores showed the biggest decline for the month of May, down 4.6%.

The National Retail Federation offered a positive interpretation of the statistics.

“Today’s retail numbers, and upward revisions to prior months, reinforce the ongoing strength of the consumer and are consistent with a pick up in the pace of the economy in the coming months,” said NRF Chief Economist Jack Kleinhenz. “The strong job market, recent income gains and elevated confidence translates into ongoing support for spending. Households, in the aggregate, are in solid financial condition but an escalation in trade tariffs will undoubtedly create a considerable downdraft to confidence and spending, or lead to a pullback in spending.”

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