Sales were higher on a year-over-year basis, led by a $5.5 billion, or 11.9%, increase in non-store sales. Gasoline sales were a close second with a $4.2 billion, or 12.3%, rise in sales, followed by a $4.1 billion, or 4.4%, increase in vehicles and parts sales . Thus, non-store sales and vehicles and parts were major drivers in sales on both a month-ago and year-ago basis. The largest dollar decline in sales was seen in department stores, where sales were down $478 million, or 3.7%, which was also the biggest percentage decline of any category. This is also taking a toll on department store stocks as earnings continue to disappoint investors.
This report, along with slowing wage growth and overall and core inflation in April, may once again give the Fed some pause at its next rate setting meeting in June. Stay tuned!