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CE/Majaps Retail Sales Flat In May: Feds

Washington – May sell-through for CE and majap specialty retailers slipped 0.5 percent year over year to $8.4 billion, according to the U.S. Census Bureau’s monthly sales estimates.

Sales also remained essentially flat from April, edging down 0.4 percent.

Sales at furniture and home furnishings stores also dipped 0.5 percent from May 2012, but declined 0.8 percent from last month.

E-tailers and other direct sellers fared better, with year-over-year sales rising 11.3 percent and month-over-month sales up 0.7 percent.

Total retail sales, excluding automotive and food, increased 4.3 percent year over year and 0.3 percent from April.

All figures were adjusted for seasonal variation and holiday and trading day differences, but not for price changes.

The National Retail Federation (NRF), a retail trade group, attributed the strong overall sales numbers to consumer resiliency and increasing confidence as home and equity prices rise and unemployment eases.

Still, NRF chief economist Jack Kleinhenz warned that stagnant salaries “continue constrain further economic acceleration.”

“The economy is improving,” he said, “but we still have a long way to go.”

Separately, Costco said its net sales rose 7 percent in May to $8.1 billion while U.S. comp sales increased 5 percent on strong traffic trends. The No. 1 warehouse club also cited CE as one of its stronger performing hardlines categories, continuing a trend that began one year ago last month.