While retail sales dipped in May, they were still up nearly 7 percent from the same month a year ago.
U.S. retailers reported a surprise decline in sales in May, the first in eight months, stirring nagging fears that the much-discussed road to economic recovery isn’t as on track as once believed. —JCL
Sales at retailers unexpectedly fell in May for the first time since September following a record slump in purchases of building materials, adding to fears the economic recovery was losing some steam.
Friday’s report follows last week’s data showing a sharp slowdown in private hiring in May, but analysts still saw little risk of the economy slipping back into recession.
“The report is not evidence that the economy is getting ready for a double-dip or that consumers, facing headwinds of double-digit unemployment and bank credit restriction, are taking their ball and going home,” said Chris Rupkey, chief financial economist at Bank of Tokyo/Mitsubishi in New York.
Total retail sales dropped 1.2 percent after rising 0.6 percent in April, the Commerce Department said.