U.S. retail sales in April rise at fastest pace in a year

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And gasoline station sales rose 2.2% amid rising prices. Consumer spending grew 0.8% in the first few months of the year, which was lower than the downwardly revised 1.1% reading for Q4.

John Blackledge, an analyst at Cowen & Co., expects Amazon.com to replace Macy's as the No. 1 apparel retailer by next year. Excluding automobiles, gasoline, building materials and food services, retail sales shot up 0.9 percent last month after an upwardly revised 0.2 percent gain in March. By contrast, sales at both department stores and electronics outlets have fallen over the past 12 months. Bespoke Investment noted that this was the biggest beat on sales relative to expectations in over three years.

"Today's retail sales data suggests that consumer activity, the primary driver of economic activity, has not lost its momentum", said NRF chief economist Jack Kleinhenz.

Americans stepped up their online shopping and bought more autos in April, suggesting that consumers may be spending more than indicated by a slump among major retailers. While disappointing, this was still the fastest pace of quarterly growth in a year and that should be enough to prevent a deeper slide in EUR/USD. Consumer spending is responsible for about two-thirds of economic output. Excluding the volatile auto sales, total retail sales increased 0.8 percent last month. That was the best gain since May 2015.

For the coming month, the median economist estimate is +0.4% with forecasts ranging from +0.1% to +0.6%.

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Indeed, spending at non-store retailers - which include online and catalogues - has climbed a robust 10.2 per cent from a year ago, according to the government.

The metric has been sluggish since last July, climbing more than just 0.2% m/m once. As is typical in the spring, gasoline prices rose during April, but remained below year-earlier levels.

Most other retail categories posted more modest gains in April.

Shake Shack rose 5.5 percent to $36.15 after the burger chain raised its same-restaurant sales forecast for the year.

Economists hailed the U.S. Commerce Department's report Friday because it was essentially what they've been looking for considering the government's reports on strengthening employment and even wages. Building materials and garden equipment store receipts, however, fell 1.0 percent last month, the largest decline since August.

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