After reporting a sharp increase in U.S. retail sales in the previous month, the Commerce Department released a report on Friday showing retail sales were unchanged in the month of April.
The Commerce Department said retail sales were virtually unchanged in April after soaring by an upwardly revised 10.7 percent in March.
Economists had expected retail sales to jump by 1.0 percent compared to the 9.8 percent spike originally reported for the previous month.
Retail sales came in unchanged as a continued increase in sales by motor vehicles and parts dealers was offset by decreases in sales in other segments. Auto sales shot up by 2.9 percent in April after skyrocketing by 17.1 percent in March.
Excluding the increase in sales by motor vehicle and parts dealers, retail sales slid by 0.8 percent in April after surging up by 8.9 percent in March. Ex-auto sales were expected to climb by 0.7 percent.
The unexpected decrease in ex-auto sales reflected sharp pullbacks in sales by clothing and accessories stores, general merchandise stores and sporting goods, hobby, musical instrument, and book stores.
Closely watched core retail sales, which exclude automobiles, gasoline, building materials and food services, also slumped by 1.5 percent in April after soaring by 7.6 percent in March.
“Retail sales cooled in April, with a flat reading, as the sugar rush from generous fiscal transfers, rapid vaccinations and warmer weather faded,” said Gregory Daco, Chief U.S. Economist at Oxford Economics.
He added, “But don’t be fooled, stronger consumer spending activity lies ahead as US households have the means and the motivation to spend freely.”
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