Department and apparel stores didn’t share in the increases as furniture stores continued their strong run in the final week of May.
According to The Retail Economist-Goldman Sachs Weekly Chain Store Sales Index, retail sales in the seven days ended May 30 rose 2.1 percent on a year-on-year basis and 2 percent from the prior week. The sequential improvement reversed a 0.4 percent decline in the week ended May 23 while the year-on-year gain was smaller than the 3 percent gain registered in the prior week.
“Sales performance was mixed over the past week with more store segments weaker than the prior year’s period,” said Michael Niemira, chief economist and principal of The Retail Economist. “The final week of the fiscal month of May saw its strongest week-over-week gain since the end of March, which is a positive sign heading into June.”
During the week ended March 28, sequential sales rose 3.4 percent.
While furniture and do-it-yourself retailers continued their recent string of healthy results, business was described as “weak across a broad array of store types,” including department, apparel, dollar, drug, electronics and office supply stores as well as wholesale clubs and grocers. A cooler week than the comparable seven days in 2014 may have suppressed demand at department and apparel stores.
Gas prices rose for the seventh consecutive week, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. However, the $2.78 average for a gallon of unleaded gasoline remained 24.7 percent below the average of one year ago.
Niemira expects an improvement in same-store sales trends when stores report their results later this week. He forecasts growth of between 2 and 4 percent, better than the March-April composite of a 0.4 percent decline.