Retail sales rose more than forecast in May

Building material and garden equipment and supplies dealers stores’ sales increased 0.9 percent, while clothing sales decreased 0.2 percent, sales at electronics and appliance stores fell 0.4 percent and furniture and home furnishing stores’ sales decreased 0.8 percent.

“Stronger employment data and increasing home and equity prices lifted confidence and spending this spring,” NRF chief economist Jack Kleinhenz said.

“The economy is improving, albeit slowly, but we still have a long way to go. Stagnant salaries continue to constrain further economic acceleration. While sequester and tax increases dampened sales growth in the first quarter, it appears that the economy absorbed most of the blow.”

Employers added 175,000 jobs last month, 28,000 in the retail sector, stretching across a greater portion of businesses than the previous two months.

Still, retailers argue that the economy faces a series of obstacles, including the $80 billion sequester and a range of much-needed fiscal policies such as tax reform, before growth can accelerate.