US retail sales grew in April amid holiday spending, increased wages and higher tax refunds. Revenue rose 0.9% from the previous month, versus a 1.4% increase in March, according to data the US Census Bureau released last week. April sales climbed 6% compared with a year earlier. In April, sales advanced year on year in six of the nine categories the US Census Bureau monitors. The clothing and accessories segment — which includes jewelry — saw the second-highest growth, up 11%. Revenues for the category grew 0.8% versus March. Online sales across all products increased 11% year on year and 2.1% compared to the previous month.
“April’s retail sales data is encouraging because it shows consumers are taking higher prices in stride and remain resilient,” explained National Retail Federation (NRF) chief economist Jack Kleinhenz. “Sales benefited from Easter and Passover spending and also from tax refunds, which have been delayed by pandemic-related issues at the Internal Revenue Service [IRS] but are also larger than usual.” The jump in spending comes despite several challenges affecting the retail industry, the NRF noted. “April retail sales demonstrate consumer strength and willingness to spend despite persistent inflation, supply-chain constraints, market volatility and global unrest,” said NRF CEO Matthew Shay. “Retail businesses are also facing increased costs like higher energy bills and rents, as well as the cost for goods, transportation and wages.” “High gasoline prices, rising interest rates and price pressures across the board continue to be headwinds to spending, but wage and job gains are offsetting that with a tailwind that should bode well for moderate-but-steady spending growth going forward,” Kleinhenz added.