Washington - April sales at consumer electronics and appliance stores rose 3.8 percent to $8.5 billion year over year, according to the U.S. Census Bureau's latest retail tabulations.
The seasonally adjusted figures reflect a slowly stabilizing economy, growing consumer confidence and the impact of the government's $300 million appliance rebate program.
On a month-over-month basis, sales for CE and majap dealers were essentially flat from March, edging up just 0.4 percent.
By comparison, total retail sales in April, including restaurants and car dealerships, were up 9.6 percent year over year and 0.5 percent from March.
"The slow road to recovery is turning into a sprint as retailers experienced a nice bounce in April," observed Matt Shay, president/CEO of the National Retail Foundation (NRF), an industry trade association. "But maintaining this sales momentum will be challenging. Until our economy begins to create jobs and reduce unemployment, the breadth and sustainability of this recovery remains uncertain."
Added NRF chief economist Rosalind Wells, "Spending on discretionary items had fallen by the wayside these last few years and we are encouraged to see consumers dipping into that pot once again."