Apparel, drug and dollar stores encountered poor business conditions last week, contributing to a 1.7 percent decline in retail sales versus the prior week.
According to The Retail Economist-Goldman Sachs Weekly Chain-Store Sales Index, the drop came against a 2.1 percent increase in sales for the week ended May 9 in comparison to the prior-year week.
But it also marked the second consecutive week of sequential declines for the index, the first time that had occurred since a string of four weeks of declines at the start of January, a period when the index shed 7.5 percent in the aftermath of the holiday season.
Additionally, the 2.1 percent gain on a year-on-year basis was the smallest advance since the 1.8 percent increase registered during the week ended March 7.
Furniture stores, wholesale clubs and discounters did better than the average result, while there was weakness at apparel stores.
Michael Niemira, chief economist and principal at The Retail Economist LLC, said that “housing-related retail — furniture and home improvement retailers — tended to drive the industry over the past week. After a soft patch over the past several months in retail demand, TRE continues to expect that spending will advance more briskly over the upcoming months.”
Weather cooperated with retailers, with temperatures 1.9 degrees warmer than last year, according to Weather Trends International, and 4 degrees warmer than the longer-term average.
Gasoline prices rose 2.7 cents a gallon last week, reported the U.S. Energy Information Administration, putting the gain in the last four weeks at 28.3 cents while the decline from year-ago levels was reduced to 26.6 percent.