Weaker retail sales cast shadow over growth outlook for the US

Peter Spence
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US RETAIL sales grew by a meagre 0.1 per cent in April, a shadow of the previous month when sales jumped by a revised 1.5 per cent.

Sales in April were four per cent higher than a year earlier, the Commerce Department said, but still disappointed investors.

Analysts at HSBC had expected sales “to turn in a solid performance, as households continued to make up for spending that was delayed during the winter”.

Instead, growth has lost momentum, implying something more serious might be wrong with the US economy. Economists had forecast sales growth of 0.4 per cent this April.

Other indices for April had been fairly bullish, but Societe Generale suggested that falling auto-dealer revenues would likely cap any advances in retail sales. Excluding autos, retail sales growth was non-existent, rather than the 0.6 per cent increase analysts had forecast.

On Monday, the British Retail Consortium said sales in UK stores last month were 5.7 per cent higher than a year earlier, the biggest annual rise since April 2011.