Goldman Sachs reported a 1% dip in national retail sales for the third week of May in its Goldman Sachs Weekly Chain Store Sales Index. Experts say bad weather and rising gas prices are to blame for the slip as consumers dial down discretionary spending. Retailers are hoping to see a seasonal holiday spike for Memorial Day, and experts project an overall gain in retail sales for the month of May. For more on this continue reading the following article from BlueMauMau.
Adverse national weather and higher gasoline prices are holding down weekly retail sales as consumers pull back on seasonal and discretionary spending once again. As a result, for the week ending May 21, retailers saw weekly retail sales slip by 1.0 percent, according to the ICSC-Goldman Sachs Weekly Chain Store Sales Index. On a year-over-year basis retail sales slowed by 3.1 percent.
The ICSC-UBS weekly series is a comparable store sales measure, a running picture of U.S. retail industry sales performance. The index is compiled by the International Council of Shopping Centers and investment bank UBS.
"The wettest comparable week in ten years—combined with cooler temperatures—negatively impacted spending on apparel and other seasonal merchandise," said Michael Niemira, ICSC vice president of research and chief economist.
"As the industry heads into the last fiscal week of May, seasonal items may see a bump as consumers gear up for Memorial Day weekend and better weather seemingly is expected nationwide," added Niemira.
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Over the last week, gasoline prices at the pump dropped sharply. The U.S. Energy Information Administration, which reported that the average price of a gallon of regular-grade gasoline declined by 11.1 cents on May 23, 2011 to $3.849 compared with its prior-week reading. But still gasoline prices were up 38.2% from the same week of 2010.
The ICSC-GS weekly consumer tracking survey showed divergence between discount and department stores with stronger customer traffic for the week at discounters, but weaker traffic at department stores.
For May, ICSC Research anticipates monthly industry retail sales will increase by between 3.0 to 3.5 percent.
This article was republished with permission from BlueMauMau.