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US retail sales April 2010

Retail and food turnover is picking up after the drop December 2008. Adjusted turnover for April is 367 billion which is an 8.4% increase from April last year. Retail sales also show signs of recovery with a 9.1% increase from April 2009. Automobile turnover is slowly moving upward with an increase of 15.6% since April last year, yet automotive parts measure a -1.0% change. Gasoline stations are experiencing a 34.0% increase from April 2009 and fuel dealers 7.7%.

Electronic appliance turnover shows slight signs if recovery and decreases for the third consecutive month (remember that these are adjusted figures). Still, increase from April 2009 is 0.9%. Computer sales are in a similar state with a -3.7% change from April last year. We include electronic shopping in this category in order to compare it with computer sales and also include it in the ‘Store and warehouse‘ section for consumer shopping trend analysis. Since the economic crisis, e-commerce has literally soared upward. Turnover took a slight dip November 2008 to 17 billion, but has since then climbed to a record height of 22 billion with a 28.6% increase between April 2009 – 2010.

Clothing accessory sales are picking up with an increase measuring 6.5% between April 2009 – 2010 which is more than clothing store turnover which measures 5.6%. Women’s clothing shows a 5.3% change compared to April last year while shoe store turnover increases by 8.4%. Furniture stores see a decrease of -0.3% between April 2009 – 2010 (furniture and furnishings measure -1.6%) while building materials take a sharp positive turn from -2.1% March 2009 – 2010 to 7.3% April 2009 – 2010. Building supplies show a similar change from -0.8 March to March and 4.3% April to April.

Liquor store turnover increases very slightly between April 2009 – 2010 and measures 0.1%, while health stores are experiencing a more pronounced increase of 3.4%. Pharmacies have seen non-stop increase since January 1993 and appear to be completely immune to any economic situation. Increase between April 2009 – 2010 is 5.6%. Food and beverage stores have been battling to increase turnover but do have hit a saturation point. Change from April last year is 0.3% with total turnover of 49 billion. Food services are faring better with an increase of 3.3% and a turnover of 39.5 billion.

A look at consumer shopping channels reveals that grocery stores are struggling with a 0.1% change between April 2009 – 2010 which is actually better than -0.9% turnover change of department stores. When these series are viewed from January 1993, the turnover gap is widening. In January 1993, department store to grocery store turnover was 54,0%. As of April 2010, this ratio has shrunk to 35.9%. Warehouses are seeing positive results with a 3.7% change between April 2009 – 2010 but at 28.6%, electronic shopping dwarfs that figure. In April 2009, e-shopping to warehouses turnover measured 57,1%; as of April 2010 it had risen to 70,7%. This is something to think about.


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