Retail Sales Rose 0.9% in April

Retail sales rose 0.9 percent in April as a rebound in automobile sales and a pickup in dining powered another monthly increase in consumer spending, according to data released Tuesday by the Census Bureau.

Sales by retailers, restaurants and bars totaled $677.7 billion in April, according to the Census Bureau, up from a revised March total of $671.6 billion. Retail sales are adjusted for seasonal spending pattern changes, but not for inflation.

Economists expected retail sales to rise 1 percent last month after auto dealers reported a sharp pickup in sales and restaurant activity rose in April. Both were key drivers of the April increase in retail sales, which has steamed ahead despite inflation hitting an annual rate of 8.3 percent last month, according to Labor Department data.

Sales by restaurants and bars rose 2 percent in April, in line with a 1.9 percent monthly increase in March. Retail sales minus auto dealers and auto parts shops rose by 0.6 percent in April, and retail sales without the food and beverage industry rose 0.7 percent.

“These broad increases reflect the continued strength of consumer demand in the US, despite rising economic risks. Retail sales have shown steady growth in recent months, despite the worsening outlook in consumer confidence,” wrote Cailin Birch, global economist at Economist Intelligence Unit, in a Tuesday analysis.