Retailers can rejoice — consumers are spending once again.
While the year started off slow for consumer spending — due to a variety of factors, like poor weather that lingered into the spring — it appears the late spring results show that retail sales are back on the mend. In fact, sales across retailers and restaurants jumped 1.2 percent in May from April’s results.
The U.S. Commerce Department announced Thursday (June 11) that early estimates of U.S. retail and food services sales for May indicated that spending hit $444.9 billion (seasonally adjusted). It’s worth noting that that’s a 2.7 percent increase from May 2014. The report also revealed that sales for March-May of this year were up 2.1 percent from the same period a year prior. But when it came to the March-April results, the sales difference was almost flat.
BNP Paribas economist Laura Rosner, who was cited by The Wall Street Journal, said that this report “breaks a string of disappointments to consumer spending data,” adding that “we continue to expect robust consumption growth for the remainder of the year."
The Journal also noted that this year’s spending patterns mirror that of last year, when consumers buckled down during the cold winter months, slowing spending after the holidays, and eventually started spending more once the weather warmed up. But, compared to last year, retailers may benefit from wage increases and lower gas prices.