US retail sales have been on a rollercoaster ride this year. The rate saw an increase in January, followed by a drop in February, after which came a rise in March and then a fall in April.
According to the data released by the US Census Bureau on Wednesday, advance estimates of US retail and food services sales for April 2019, adjusted for seasonal variation and holiday and trading-day differences, were $513.4 billion, down 0.2% from March 2019, but up 3.1% from April 2018. On an unadjusted basis, retail and food service sales totaled $507.9 billion for April 2019.
Retail trade sales were down 0.2% from March 2019 but up 2.8% from last year. Adjusted sales for motor vehicles and parts dealers were $104.3 billion in April 2019, down 1.1% from March 2019 and up 2.2% from April 2018.
Furniture and home furnishings stores sales were $10 billion, on an adjusted basis, for April. This figure was flat with March and down 3.1% from the April of last year. Electronics and appliance stores sales saw declines on both a sequential and year-over-year basis, amounting to $7.9 billion on an adjusted basis.
Adjusted food and beverage stores sales amounted to $63 billion, increasing both on a sequential and year-over-year basis. Clothing and clothing accessories stores adjusted sales were $22.8 billion in April 2019, down 0.2% from March 2019 and up 0.2% from April 2018.
The numbers point to the reduction in spending by American consumers despite healthy employment and wage growth rates. The US economy is facing headwinds from the ongoing trade tensions with China.