May Sales Strong

May sunshine stoked consumer demand, and retail sales increased 4.8 percent, beating estimates, according to Michael P. Niemira, chief economist for the International Council of Shopping Centers, a prominent trade group that keeps an index of chain-store sales.

“The beat went on as consumer spending continued to remain quite healthy this past month with pent-up demand lifting sales after tough weather conditions constrained sales in the first few months of the year,” Niemira said.

Niemira had forecast that the month’s sales would increase only 3 percent to 3.5 percent. In a June 3 note, he wrote that sales had “soared” during the last week of the month, which included the Memorial Day weekend.

Adrienne Tennant, a prominent Wall Street analyst, agreed that warmer weather released pent-up demand for clothing and other soft goods. However, she wrote in a June 5 note that May’s sales performance was mixed. Zumiez Inc. reported strong sales in May, with its same-store sales increasing 3 percent. L Brands, the parent company of Victoria’s Secret, posted a same-store-sales increase of 3 percent for May. However, The Buckle Inc. reported a decline of 3.1 percent in May. “We had expected May to be generally “okay” and heavily driven by ongoing aggressive promotions,” Tennant wrote. She works for Janney Capital Markets.