ARLINGTON, Va. -- Monthly retail sales figures released by the Department of Commerce showed slight gains, indicating that although consumer spending is up and the economy is growing, consumers remain cautious, noted the Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA).
Overall retail sales in April grew just 0.4 percent from the previous month and rose 8.8 percent over sales in April 2009. Retail sales excluding auto and auto part sales also increased by 0.4 percent in April. The home-improvement sector led retail gains with 6.9 percent growth over the previous month. Although month-to-month sales growth was flat in most categories, virtually all retail segments experienced substantial growth over April 2009.
"Consumers are cautiously opening their wallets and making purchases that they deferred or avoided during the worst of the recession," said RILA President Sandy Kennedy.
Today's retail sales follow last week's news from the U.S. Department of Labor that, despite adding 290,000 jobs to the economy, unemployment rose to 9.9 percent.
"Retailers have reacted to measured sales growth by diligently controlling inventory levels and offering product assortments at prices reflective of what consumers are seeking," said Kennedy. "These measures have allowed retailers to succeed throughout the recession, and as the market improves, these measures will be the cornerstone for growth and increased profitability," Kennedy concluded.
RILA is the trade association of the world's largest and most innovative retail companies. RILA members include more than 200 retailers, product manufacturers, and service suppliers, which together account for more than $1.5 trillion in annual sales, millions of American jobs and more than 100,000 stores, manufacturing facilities and distribution centers domestically and abroad.
Retail Industry Leaders Association -- www.retail-leaders.org