Purchase, N.Y. MasterCard Advisors’ SpendingPulse, a macroeconomic report tracking national retail and service sales, provided summary results for April.
Kamalesh Rao, director of economic research for MasterCard Advisors SpendingPulse, reported that following three months of steady, month-to-month growth averaging about 2%, total U.S. retail sales (excluding auto) stopped to catch its breath in April, falling by 2% since March on a seasonally adjusted basis.
Excluding gasoline, the month-to-month number performed better, rising 0.3%, also on a seasonally adjusted basis, but not as strong as the 1.5% average of the previous quarter.
“Although there were pockets of strength, for example double digit growth in luxury sales and e-commerce, retail sales overall seemed to have lost some momentum in April. However, this is not untypical of a recovery, which will happen in fits and starts, rather than by taking a direct path,” said Rao.
Year-over-year growth for total retail sales ex-auto also dipped slightly, cooling to 6.1%, compared with the 6.9% growth of March. “This slight drop still puts retail growth at relatively healthy levels, especially when you compare it to the losses of last year,” Rao said.
Excluding gasoline the same trend holds: April saw retail sales ex-gasoline grow at a 3.6% year-over-year clip, down slightly from the 4.2% growth of March.