May Sales Show Solid Growth Over Last Year

Retail sales across the country in May were up over last year, but several big apparel chains saw a slight dip in same-store sales.

The National Retail Federation reported that May sales inched up 3.2 percent over the same period last year and grew 0.5 percent from April.

“The strong job market, recent income gains and elevated confidence translate into ongoing support for spending,” said Jack Kleinhenz, chief economist at the NRF, based in Washington, D.C. “Households, in the aggregate, are in solid financial condition, but an escalation in trade tariffs will undoubtedly create a considerable downdraft to confidence and spending or lead to a pullback in spending.”

Broken down by category, online and non-store sales in May increased 11.4 percent over last May. General-merchandise stores, a category that includes department stores, reported sales were up 4.4 percent in a year-over-year comparison.

Sales at clothing and clothing accessory stores declined 2.4 percent over last May.

Retailers that continue to report monthly sales had mixed results for May. Denim-focused mall retailer The Buckle, Inc. noted that its May same-store sales dipped 0.8 percent over last year. The retailer’s net sales in May declined 1.1 percent to $61.5 million compared to May 2018.

Value retailer Cato Corp. announced a 1 percent increase in its same-store sales in May, but net sales in that month slipped 2 percent to $76.1 million.