by Wolf Richter
It’s a pandemic, so there are problems with the data.
Total retail sales in May bounced off 17.7% from the April low, according to the Census Bureau today. April had been the lowest April since 2013. May retail sales, at $485 billion seasonally adjusted, were down 6.1% from May 2019, down 3.3% from May 2018, and up 2.6% from May 2017. It seems, people are spending their stimulus checks and their extra $600 a week in federal unemployment compensation.
Ecommerce sales skyrocketed 30% year-over-year to another record. Sales at building materials, garden supply, and equipment stores jumped to a new record. Other segments bounced off strongly, but remained at low levels.