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MasterCard: Retail sales remain strong in April

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SpendingPulse report finds consumer resilience

PURCHASE, N.Y. — Monthly retail sales growth continued to be strong in April, according to Mastercard SpendingPulse, which reported that total retail sales (excluding auto) for the month were up 7.2% year-over-year.

Mastercard SpendingPulse, which measures in-store and online retail sales across all forms of payment, also found that April sales increased 15.3% compared to pre-pandemic spending (2019), not adjusted for inflation.

Key trends for April reinforce consumer resilience in the face of inflation and highlight seasonal spending across sectors and channels, the report found. Of note:

  • Springing into stores: In-store sales were up +10.0%, while e-commerce sales are down -1.8% compared to last year, reflecting consumer demand to get out. However, online sales remain elevated (+92.0%) vs pre-pandemic April 2019. California, New York, Florida, Nevada and Illinois were among the states leading the charge back to brick-and-mortar.
  • Warm weather wardrobe: Consumers refreshing their wardrobes for potential summer travel and the warmer months ahead contributed to continued growth for Apparel (+10.8% YOY / +8.4% pre-pandemic) and Department Stores (+15.7% YOY / +22.3% pre-pandemic), though rates have started to soften from the peaks earlier this year.
  • Nesting season: Furniture and Furnishing sales, which saw the seventh consecutive month of positive growth, were up +3.8% YOY and +25.7% compared to pre-pandemic 2019 levels. While the super-hot housing market is starting to show signs of cooling, consumers continue investing in their homes and feathering their nests for seasons to come.

“Whether for a family barbeque, returning to the office or senior prom, it seems like everyone is out shopping for something,” said Steve Sadove, senior advisor for Mastercard and former CEO and chairman of Saks Inc.

 

 


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