12 June 2008 18:00 [Source: ICIS news]
Market analysts had been expecting an increase of about 0.5%.
The department said that May’s retail sales volume also represented a 2.5% increase over the same month a year ago.
In addition, the Commerce Department revised April retail figures, reporting a 0.4% increase in that month instead of the earlier estimate of a 0.2% decline.
However, a substantial portion of May’s increase in retail sales could be attributed to gasoline sales, which were up 2.6% in the month compared with April and were nearly 14% higher than in May 2007.
Retail sales of automobiles showed a bare 0.1% increase in May, reflecting a continuing slump in car purchases, especially among gas-guzzlers.
Sales of furniture and home furnishings rose 0.4% in May, the department said, apparently held down by ongoing troubles in the
Retail sales are a key indicator of consumer spending and confidence and are closely watched by economists because consumer outlays account for as much as 70% of
The federal stimulus programme calls for about $100bn in payments to taxpaying consumers, with about half of that total having been dispersed so far.
($1 = €0.65)
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