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Sales Slipping? You Can Thank ‘Persistent Discounting’

The nation’s CE and appliance dealers registered a cumulative 1.8 percent decline in May sales year over year, to $8.1 billion, the U.S. Census Bureau reported.

But on a month-to-month basis sales slid 2.8 percent from April.

In contrast, furniture and home-furnishings sellers saw flat sales from April, but a 4.4 percent increase from May 2016.

Direct sellers, including online-only retailers, enjoyed a 10.2 percent spike year over year, and a 0.8 percent uptick from April.

Total retail sales, excluding restaurants, gas stations and car dealers, rose 4 percent year over year.

Jack Kleinhenz, chief economist for the National Retail Federation (NRF), an industry trade group, said the soft month-to-month comparisons reflect persistent discounting and belie healthy retail sales trends.

“Consumers continued to show solid purchasing power in May, but they are buying more without spending more,” he said. “The lack of retail pricing power continues to be a benefit to consumers but an ongoing challenge for retailers.”

The survey-based sales estimates were adjusted for calendar variations but not for price changes, and figures for the CE/majap channel are heavily weighted toward Best Buy’s results.