Thursday, June 14, 2012

Cautious Consumers Lead to Second Consecutive Month of Disappointing SalesWholesale prices fall due to big drop in energy costs

Arlington, VA – According to figures released today by the U.S. Department of Commerce, retail sales dropped in May for the second consecutive month, falling to $404.6 billion. The disappointing figures represent the first time in two years that sales have fallen in consecutive months, presenting a clear warning for retailers that the economy could be headed for turbulence.

Monthly retail sales figures for May were down 0.2 percent from April, but were up 5.3 percent over last year’s May tally. Retail sales excluding auto sales were down 0.4 percent over the previous month—the biggest drop in two years.

“What is clear is that consumers are nervous, and they’re being cautious with their pocketbooks,” said RILA President Sandy Kennedy.

Fears of a European-led global slowdown have shaken the markets in recent months, and American consumers are clearly keeping a close eye on events which could derail economic growth here at home. One silver lining for retailers and consumers alike was the drop in energy prices. A 4.3% drop in energy costs bodes well for wholesale costs and for consumers during the summer driving season.

"America’s leading retailers are well prepared for any bumps in the road after enduring the economic shocks of the past few years. The good news for consumers is that lower wholesales costs and intense competition for sales will continue to translate into great prices and attractive deals at stores,” concluded Kennedy.

RILA is the trade association of the world's largest and most innovative retail companies. RILA members include more than 200 retailers, product manufacturers, and service suppliers, which together account for more than $1.5 trillion in annual sales, millions of American jobs and more than 100,000 stores, manufacturing facilities and distribution centers domestically and abroad.

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