Retail sales continue to rise, according to new data from the U.S. Census Bureau. These figures prompted the National Retail Federation to predict further economic expansion as inflation pressure wanes. 

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, overall retail sales were up 0.1 percent in May, seasonally adjusted month-over-month and up 2.3 percent unadjusted year over year. In April, retail sales fell 0.2 percent month-over-month, however, this represented an increase of 2.7 percent year over year in April.

“May’s retail sales give us a snapshot of a reasonably healthy consumer, even though spending growth is fluctuating somewhat,” National Retail Federation chief economist Jack Kleinhenz said. 

May’s core retail sales, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, were up 0.3 percent seasonally adjusted month over month and up 2.9 percent unadjusted year over year. This is excluding automobile dealers, gas stations and restaurants. Meanwhile, core retail sales were up 3.5 percent year over year for the first five months of the year.

Advance estimates of U.S. retail and food services sales for May 2024, were $703 billion, up 0.1 percent from the previous month, and up 2.3 percent compared with May 2023, adjusted for seasonal variation and holiday and trading-day differences, but not for price change, the U.S. Census Bureau reported.

Total sales for the March 2024 through May 2024 period were up 2.9 percent from the same period a year ago, according to the U.S. Census Bureau report. Meanwhile, the March 2024 to April 2024 percent change was revised from virtually unchanged to down to 0.2 percent.

Earlier this month, VMAIL reported that the National Retail Federation (NRF) forecast that retail sales will increase in 2024, between 2.5 percent and 3.5 percent to between $5.23 trillion and $5.28 trillion.

According to the NRF, this reflects growth compared to April, which saw an increase of 0.4 percent month over month and a decrease of 0.05 percent year over year.

“These numbers indicate that the economy continues to expand at a solid pace. Job gains have remained strong, generally supporting consumers’ ability and willingness to spend. Inflation pressure has fallen, especially for retail goods, but higher prices for services continue to weigh on the minds of households,” said Kleinhenz.