Home-related goods generated the strongest weekly sales results, but department and apparel stores were among those showing some signs of life in the run-up to Memorial Day.
According to The Retail Economist-Goldman Sachs Weekly Chain Store Sales Index, retailers saw a 3 percent increase in year-over-year sales in the seven days ended May 23, the biggest jump since the 3.7 percent gain registered during the week ended May 2.
Sequential sales declined for the fourth consecutive week, slipping 0.4 percent. The sequential metric hasn’t risen since its 0.8 percent increase during the week ended April 25.
“Housing-related retail spending at furniture and home improvement retailers has been consistently leading the industry, and the past week’s performance was no different,” said Michael Niemira, chief economist and principal of The Retail Economist LLC. “Nationwide weather was not particularly favorable leading up to the Memorial Day weekend, which likely contributed to the sequential weekly softness.”
Still, the weekly survey found business “modestly stronger” at department and apparel stores, as well as discounters, wholesale clubs and online-only, office and dollar stores. Results softened from the prior week at drug, grocery and electronics stores.
With a cold front cutting across much of the northern tier of the country, temperatures on average were 2.8 degrees colder than the year-ago week and 1.6 degrees cooler than their long-term average, according to Weather Trends International.
The savings consumers had been enjoying at the gasoline pump continued to diminish, with prices up for the sixth straight week. The nationwide average of $2.774 per gallon was 3 cents higher than during the prior week and up a total of 36.6 cents over a four-week span while still 24.5 percent below their year-ago level, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.