Retail Sales Growth Still Sluggish in April

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Retail spending is slow growing again in April, as many consumers are still opting for discount chains over many of the major retailers. The 3.7 percent increase reported by twelve major U.S. retailers in the Thomson Reuters same-store sales index came in notably lower than the 4.3 percent increase that Wall Street had expected.

Costco reported a 4 percent sales increase, just slightly less than was expected.  L Brands, the parent company of Victoria’s Secret and Bath & Body Works reported sales were up 2 percent last month, which was also less than analysts’ estimates.

On the other hand, “discount” retailers like T.J. Maxx and Ross all exceeded Wall Street’s growth estimates, showing once again that consumers are still spending with tightened purse strings.  This cutting back is likely to continue in the coming months as well, as consumers are still unsure about the stability of the economy.

So what does this mean for the state of small businesses?  Well, this news isn’t exactly surprising.  We have seen consumers cutting back on their spending for several months now in other industries, so lackluster retail sales numbers shouldn’t throw anyone into a tizzy even though this certainly isn’t the kind of news that we’ve been hoping for.  The good news is that growth, albeit modest growth, is happening and growth in retail spending will likely carry over to small businesses outside of the retail spectrum as well.

How is your small business doing this month?  If you operate a retail location, have you seen any growth?