U.S. retailers’ slow slog through the spring continued last week as sequential sales fell and year-on-year results were uninspiring.
The Retail Economist LLC-Goldman Sachs Weekly Chain Store Sales Index for the seven days ended June 6 came in at 566.4, 2.1 percent above the comparable week of 2014 but 2.7 percent below the prior week.
The index finished at the lowest level since the week of March 21, when it registered 559.8.
“Business was weaker across most retail segments over the past week, with a few exceptions, such as furniture stores,” said Michael Niemira, chief economist and principal of The Retail Economist. “As June is starting with the coolest temperatures in the last six years for the nation, weather was one culprit for the past week’s sluggish sales, especially for seasonal items.”
While furniture stores continue the solid run they’ve enjoyed in recent years, department stores and wholesale clubs experienced an uptick, while sales at apparel, discount, online and other retailers remained weak.
Temperatures were an average 3.1 degrees cooler than during the same week last year and 0.5 degrees below their long-term average.
Meanwhile, gasoline prices were unchanged after seven consecutive weeks of increases. At a national mean of $2.78 for a gallon of unleaded gas, they are 24.3 percent below last year’s average at this time. Although the potential for price increases will carry into the summer, according to AAA, prices are more likely “poised for a seasonal decline giving that refineries generally complete maintenance by this time of year and gear up production for the busy summer driving season.”