US retail sales create an upbeat outlook
The NRF distributed a Reuters article reporting that US retail sales increased in May and sales for the prior month were revised higher. The fairly upbeat report from the Commerce Department on Friday last week followed a raft of weak data. Retail sales rose 0.5% last month. Data for April was revised up to show retail sales gaining 0.3%, instead of dropping 0.2% as previously reported. But sales at clothing stores were unchanged. Compared to May last year, sales advanced 3.2%. Excluding automobiles, gasoline, building materials and food services, retail sales climbed 0.5% last month after an upwardly revised 0.4% rise in April. These so-called core retail sales correspond most closely with the consumer spending component of gross domestic product. We have to question why the NRF would promote month-on-month retail statistics, as industry insiders it should know that they're meaningless figures. Year-on-year comparison is the only material metric to measure retail performance.