Retail sales decelerated last week as warmer weather in much of the country failed to ignite post-Easter demand.
According to The Retail Economist LLC-Goldman Sachs weekly chain store sales index, sales in the seven days ended Saturday were 0.1 percent below the prior week while rising 3.3 percent from their year-ago counterpart. The index value, set at 100 in 1977, was 590.9, down from its 2015 high of 591.7 in the prior week.
The figures were seasonally adjusted to account for the earlier timing of Easter this year, when the holiday occurred on April 5, in comparison to 2014, when it occurred on April 20.
“Although weather turned warmer in the East over the past week and spurred some spring merchandise demand, the week’s sales comparison with pre-Easter week sales of last year offset some of the potential favorable weather lift. But adjusted for the negative impact of the comparison, sales fared pretty well for the week.”
On an unadjusted basis, there was a “substantial” gain in business at office supply stores, but the Easter shift contributed to weaker year-on-year comparisons at many of the sectors studied, including apparel, department and online stores as well as wholesale clubs.
The average temperature was 6.2 degrees warmer than a year ago, according to Weather Trends International, with warmer weather in the Northeast but pockets of cooler weather in the West.
Gasoline prices rose to an average of $2.485 a gallon, said the U.S. Energy Information Administration, but remained 32.5 percent below year-ago levels.