The U.S. Census Bureau announced today that advance estimates of 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 $377.9 billion, an increase of 1.4 percent (±0.7%) from the previous month and 5.0 percent (±0.7%) above May 2006. Total sales for the March through May 2007 period were up 4.2 percent (±0.5%) from the same period a year ago. The March to April 2007 percent change was revised from -0.2 percent (± 0.7%)* to -0.1 percent (± 0.2%)*.
Retail trade sales were up 1.5 percent (±0.7%) from April 2007 and were 4.9 percent (±0.8%) above last year. Clothing and clothing accessories stores were up 7.8 percent (±1.5%) from May 2006 and sales of nonstore retailers were up 7.7 percent (±4.5%) from last year.
On of my big concerns going forward is the consumer. Consumer spending is responsible for 70% of US growth, so a health pace is vital to an economic expansion. In addition, because of the housing situation it's important to see if the slowing housing market is starting to bleed over into consumer spending.
Today's number indicates the US consumer is alive and well. There were strong gains across the board.
Auto sales at dealerships increased 1.86%.
Electronics and appliance store sales increased 1.26%.
Building Materials increased 2.06%.
Clothing and apparel sales increased 2.68%.
In short, it looks like the US consumer is alive and well right now.