As COVID-related restrictions ease, consumers continue to shop with year-over-year sales in April up considerably, according to the National Retail Federation (NRF).
NRF figures show sales in the year’s fourth month — excluding automobile dealers, gasoline stations and restaurants — were up 28.8% when compared to April of 2020. The atypically high increase in sales stems from government-mandated shutdowns in the early weeks of the pandemic last year that had a negative impact on retailers. There were also other factors that sparked sales.
“In March, we saw a surge in spending as stimulus checks came in, and that spending declined slightly in April,” Matthew Shay, president and CEO for the NRF. “Consumers are demonstrating that when they feel safe, they are both willing and able to spend and are driving the economy forward.”
Figures from the U.S. Census Bureau reported April sales were up 51.2% year-over-year.
“The economy and consumer spending have proven to be much more resilient than many feared a year ago,” said Jack Kleinhenz, Chief Economist for the NRF. “The fuel from stimulus checks gave a strong boost to spending in March and the fact that April numbers are very close shows spending is clearly going forward and still strong.”
April retail sales increased across the board on a year-over-year basis, led by major growth in retailers such as clothing, furniture and sporting goods stores that were ordered to close last spring.