Jun 15, 2023 - Economy

Retail spending topped analysts' projections in May

shopper holding a Nordstrom shopping bag

Photo: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Consumers continued to open their wallets at retail shops in May.

Why it matters: While shoppers are spending at a more moderate pace than in 2022, they are not pulling back in a way that would raise worrying signs about the U.S. economy.

  • Retail sales rose 0.3% in May, slowing slightly from the prior month's pace, the Commerce Department said Thursday.
  • The figures top analysts' estimates that said retail sales would decline by 0.2%.

Details: Spending at building material supply stores (+2.2%), auto shops (+1.4%), and restaurants (0.4%) are among those that saw the biggest monthly increases.

  • Gasoline stations (-2.6%) saw the biggest decline in spending as gas prices dropped. The data is not adjusted for inflation. Spending is down about 20% from the same period last year.
  • In April, overall retail sales rose 0.4%.

The bottom line: Consumers continue to spend at a healthy, though more moderate, pace.

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