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Americans 2017 Spend Trend: Building Stuff, Furniture & Online

Consumers continued to show solid purchasing power in May, but they are buying more without spending more.

Retail sales rose 5.3% in May above the year-ago level on an unadjusted basis and increased four percent on a 3-month moving average year-over-year. The numbers exclude automobiles, gasoline stations and restaurants. 

The data come from the National Retail Federation (NRF).

When looking at business lines, performance in May was similar across segments, with the electronics sector seeing the biggest losses. On a year-over-year basis, building materials and furnishings have seen the greatest growth, closely followed by online and other non-store sales, and furniture and furnishings.

A few specifics include:

• Online and other non-store sales increased 0.8% seasonally adjusted over April and increased 12.4% unadjusted year-over-year.

• Sales at clothing and accessories stores increased 0.3% seasonally adjusted from April and increased 2.1% unadjusted year-over-year.

• Sales at general merchandise stores decreased 0.3%seasonally adjusted over April but increased 1.3% year-over-year.

• Electronics and appliances stores’ sales decreased 2.8% seasonally adjusted over April but decreased 0.7% unadjusted year-over-year.

• Furniture and home furnishings stores’ sales increased 0.4% seasonally adjusted from April and increased 6.7% unadjusted year-over-year.

• Sales at building materials and supplies stores remained unchanged from April but increased 14.2% unadjusted year-over-year.

• Sporting goods stores’ sales decreased 0.6% seasonally adjusted from April and decreased 2.9% unadjusted year-over-year.
• Sales at health and personal care stores remained unchanged over April but increased 2.2%unadjusted year-over-year.

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