According to the Census Bureau’s latest reading on industrial sales, retail sales increased from last month.
April retail and foodservice consumer spending rose 1.6 percent from a year earlier, overcoming persistent inflation, banking problems and worries about a recession.
But apparel and accessories specialty store sales fell 2.3 percent month over month, while department store sales fell 1.4 percent.
For the first quarter of the retail budget — which includes February, March and April — fashion specialty stores fell 0.4 percent, while department stores gained 0.6 percent.
These numbers reflect in-store sales. Non-store retailers driven by e-commerce reported an 8 percent increase in sales for the month and quarter — even though the days of online shopping are over, putting digital sales ahead.
Matthew Shay, president and CEO of the National Retail Federation, said consumers are resilient amid economic uncertainty.
“Adjusting price levels, continued labor market strength and rising wages have boosted consumers’ spending power.” “However, they are cautious and concerned about the current economic situation. Retailers continue to offer competitive prices and convenience for consumers to stretch their budgets.
If consumers are too resistant to inflation, it could be a problem.
That’s because the Federal Reserve has been raising interest rates for more than a year to cool consumer spending and keep the economy — and prices — from overheating. But if the Fed continues to raise rates to prevent inflation from taking root, risks of a deeper recession will rise.