The specialty retail channel for consumer tech and home appliances came in next-to-last-place in May sales growth, the U.S. Census Bureau reported.
According the agency’s latest monthly estimates, CE and majap dealers eked out a 1.9 percent increase year over year, to $8.3 billion, which was roughly flat to April.
By comparison, furniture and home-furnishings stores saw sales rise 3.5 percent; e-tailers and other direct-sales merchants enjoyed a 9.1 percent spike; and total retail sales rose 6 percent year over year in May.
Only the catchall category of sporting goods, hobby, musical instrument and bookstores performed worse than CE and appliances, with sales slipping 0.7 percent for the month.
Despite the soft CE/majap numbers, Jack Kleinhenz, chief economist for the National Retail Federation (NRF), the leading retail trade group, said “the economy is looking strong and households have a solid financial foundation on which to base their spending.”
But clouding over the otherwise sunny outlook are rising inflation and gas prices, and the threat of a trade war stemming from Trump administration tariffs, he said.
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