U.S. retailers’ sales are growing at the fastest pace in four years, a sign consumers may be overcoming concern about unemployment and depressed home values.
Sales probably expanded at an average monthly rate of 4 percent in the first five months of the retail fiscal year that began Jan. 31, the biggest gain since 2006, the International Council of Shopping Centers trade group said in advance of its June report tomorrow. Nordstrom Inc. and Kohl’s Corp. are among chains that will report June sales increases at stores open at least a year, according to analysts’ estimates.
Retailers may have bucked last month’s drop in consumer confidence that threatens to temper the rebound. The year-to- date growth in sales shows that spending, a key driver of the U.S. economy, is faring better than many investors are betting, said Michael Niemira, the New York-based ICSC’s chief economist.
“The sales results have been uneven, which makes people worry about the recovery,” Niemira said in a telephone interview. “If you look at the underlying growth rate, it suggests a relatively healthy, moderate pace of spending for the remainder of the year.”
Consider this news with the following charts from the St. Louis Fed.
A larger data set -- personal consumption expenditures or PCEs -- have clearly been in an uptrend for the last year.