Retail sales fell in May for the first time in 11 months as receipts at auto dealerships dropped sharply, but the decline was less than expected, offering hope of a pick-up in economic activity.Below are the details. While any given month is potentially just noise, it is interesting to see the largest declines in "big purchases" including autos, furniture, and electronics while healthcare, food services (i.e. eating out), and clothing grew.
Retail sales last month were depressed by a 2.9 percent drop in sales of motor vehicles, the largest decline since February 2010, as a shortage of parts following the earthquake in Japan left inventories lean and prompted manufacturers to raise prices.
Excluding autos, retail sales rose 0.3 percent last month, the smallest gain since July, after rising 0.5 percent in April.