Retail trade sales fell 1.4% in May from the previous month but remain well above the total from a year earlier, the Commerce Department reported.


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Commerce Department: May retail sales down

June 11th, 2010

WASHINGTON – Retail trade sales fell 1.4% in May from the previous month but remain well above the total from a year earlier, the Commerce Department reported.

May retail trade sales, adjusted for seasonal variations and holiday/trading day differences, came in at $323 billion, compared with $327.4 billion in April, according to advanced estimates from the Commerce Department released Friday.

The 1.4% month-to-month decline was the biggest over the past 12 months since a drop of more than 2.4% last September.

However, May 2010 sales are up 7.4% from $300.7 billion in May 2009, the department noted.

Retail sectors showing month-to-month sales gains in May included furniture and home furnishings stores (+1%), electronics and appliance stores (+0.6%), supermarkets (+0.5%), and health and personal care stores (including drug stores) (+0.3%).

Sectors on the downside included apparel and accessories stores (-1.3%), general merchandise stores (-1.1%) and, within the GM store segment, department stores (-1.8%). The GM store sector includes discount chains and warehouse clubs, but figures aren't broken out for those segments in the Commerce Department's advanced estimates.

On a same-store sales basis, leading mass market retailers generally had positive results in May. Costco Wholesale Corp., BJ's Wholesale Corp. and Family Dollar Stores Inc. posted particularly strong same-store gains for the month, and Target Corp. and Fred's Inc. also saw solid increases. Drug chains Walgreen Co. and Rite Aid Corp. turned in declines, however.

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