U.S. retail sales rise 0.4 percent in April

WASHINGTON, May 14 (BestGrowthStock) – Sales at U.S. retailers rose
more than expected in April, lifted by a surprise gain in motor
vehicle purchases, government data showed on Friday.

The Commerce Department said total retail sales rose 0.4
percent following an upwardly revised 2.1 percent surge in
March. Sales in March were previously reported to have
increased 1.9 percent. Retail sales have now increased for
seven straight months.

Analysts polled by Reuters had forecast retail sales rising
0.2 percent last month. Compared to April last year, sales were
8.8 percent higher.

Motor vehicle and parts purchases unexpectedly rose 0.5
percent after increasing 6.7 percent in March. Analysts had
expected auto sales to fall in April, after automakers reported
a decline in unit sales.

Excluding autos, sales rose 0.4 percent last month after
rising 1.2 percent in March. April’s rise was in line with
market expectations.

Households are now participating in the economy’s
recovery, encouraged by an improving labor market. Economic
growth resumed in the second half of 2009 following the worst
recession since the Great Depression and continued into the
first quarter of this year.

Growth had been largely driven by businesses replenishing
inventories. Consumer spending, which normally accounts for 70
percent of U.S. economic activity, grew in the first quarter at
its fastest pace in three years.

Core retail sales, which exclude autos, gasoline and
building materials, fell 0.2 percent after increasing 0.7
percent in March. Core sales correspond most closely with the
consumer spending component of the government’s gross domestic
product report.

Clothing and clothing accessories sales fell 1.0 percent,
after surging the prior month because of an early Easter
holiday and warm weather. Building materials and garden
equipment receipts, however, climbed 6.9 percent. Receipts at
sporting goods, hobby and book stores fell 1.9 percent in
April.

Sales at electronics and appliance stores slipped 0.4
percent, defying market expectations for a rise. Receipts at
gasoline stations rose 0.5 percent.

Stock Market
(Reporting by Lucia Mutikani; Editing by Andrea Ricci)

U.S. retail sales rise 0.4 percent in April