U.S. retail sales soar 17.7% in biggest monthly increase ever
U.S. retail sales had been expected to rise by about 8.5% per cent in May.
In the biggest monthly increase ever recorded, U.S. retail sales jumped 17.7% from April to May, more than doubling the approximately 8.5% increase expected by many American economists.
The gain comes after two consecutive months of record slumps as the COVID-19 pandemic slowed consumer spending activity.
But the damage caused by the pandemic is still evident, as purchases in May 2020 were still down 6.1% from a year ago.
According to figures released by the U.S. Commerce Department on May 16, all categories of sales posted gains in May, with the largest gain of 188% in clothing and clothing accessories stores followed by an 88% jump in sporting goods, hobby, musical instrument, and book stores.
Sales of motor vehicles jumped 44.1%, and restaurant sales – which had been particularly hit hard by COVID-19 lockdowns – surged 29.1% following a nearly 40% slump in a prior month.
Furniture and home furnishings sales gained 89.7%, while electronics and appliance stores rose 50.5%. Despite the rebound, total spending remains 6.1% below pre-COVID-19 levels on a year-over-year basis.