Retail sales slow down in April

Retail sales slowed in April despite the return of warmer temperatures after the harsh winter weighed on spending.

Consumers held back their spending last month as seasonally adjusted retail sales rose just 0.1 percent after jumping 1.5 percent in March, the Commerce Department said Tuesday.

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“The shift in Easter to April did not provide enough bounce to retailers as retail sales struggled to keep their strong spring pace,” said Matthew Shay, National Retail Federal (NRF) president and CEO.

Shay said he hoped the figures “are just a temporary seasonal fluctuation.”

Retail sales increased 4 percent adjusted year-over-year.

Economists are expecting economic growth to pick up pace into the summer after a lackluster winter resulted in a paltry expansion of 0.1 percent during the first three months of the year.

“Even though retail sales were weaker than anticipated, the fundamentals of the economy, including improving job growth and income gains, remain positive,” said Jack Kleinhenz, NRF’s chief economist.

“While the shift in Easter played into the seasonal figures, NRF remains optimistic that retail sales will keep their positive trajectory, albeit in fits-and-starts, in the second quarter.”

Spending on clothing increased 1.2 percent while most other categories saw drops including electronics and appliance store sales, which were down 2.3 percent.

Hiring has picked up pace in recent months with employers adding 288,000 jobs in April.