US Retail Sales Barely Increase In Sign of Consumer Strain

US retail sales barely rose in May and prior months were revised lower, pointing to greater financial strain among consumers.

The value of retail purchases, unadjusted for inflation, increased 0.1% after an downwardly revised 0.2% drop in the prior month, Commerce Department data showed Tuesday. Excluding gasoline, sales rose 0.3%.

retail sales

Of the 13 categories tracked by the Commerce Department, five showed declines as gasoline prices were cheaper in the month and furniture outlets offered discounts for Memorial Day.

The figures underscore a notable downshift in consumer spending after stronger readings earlier in the year. Economists expect a moderate pace of spending going forward as Americans exercise greater prudence given persistent inflation, a gradually cooling job market and emerging signs of financial stress.