Media Moves and News

U.S. retail sales jump more than expected in May

June 17, 2020

Posted by Irina Slav

Retail sales in the United States posted better than expected performance in May, sparking hopes for a quick recovery.

Josh Boak and Anne D’Innocenzio reported the news for the AP:

American shoppers ramped up their spending on store purchases by a record 17.7% from April to May, delivering a dose of energy for retailers that have been reeling since the coronavirus shut down businesses, flattened the economy and paralyzed consumers during the previous two months.

The government’s report Tuesday showed that consumers’ retail purchases have retraced some of the record-setting month-to-month plunges of March (8.3%) and April (14.7%) as businesses have increasingly reopened. Still, the pandemic’s damage to retailers remains severe, with purchases still down 6.1% from a year ago.

Ken Bredemeier from VOA wrote:

All retail sales categories advanced in May, with a 44% increase in car and truck sales and a 29% increase in restaurant receipts as Americans looked to escape from their homebound coronavirus quarantines and go out to eat, or at least drive by for curb-side food pick-ups. Clothing and furniture sales also jumped.

The retail spending was boosted by $1,200 stipends the U.S. government sent in April and May to many Americans to ease the economic pain of the coronavirus shutdowns and by the ongoing $600-a-week extra unemployment cash benefits being sent to the more than 40 million workers who have been laid off from their jobs.

CNBC’s Jeff Cox noted:

After being almost completely shuttered during the lockdown, food services and drinking places saw a 29.1% rebound in May. Some states began allowing outdoor dining during the month after the establishments were limited to curbside pickup and delivery.

While the monthly gains set records, the economy is still making up for lost ground.

Total sales were off 6.1% from a year ago as economists still expect the biggest annualized GDP in the second quarter that the U.S. has ever seen.


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