Retail Sales: Lower Gas Prices Keep Shoppers Happy

The U.S. Census Bureau announced today that advance estimates of U.S. retail and food services sales for May, adjusted for seasonal variation and holiday and trading-day differences, but not for price changes, were $387.1 billion, a decrease of 0.2 percent (±0.5%) from the previous month, but 7.7 percent (±0.7%) above May 2010.

Total sales for the March through May 2011 period were up 7.5 percent (±0.5%) from the same period a year ago.  The March to April 2011 percent change was revised from +0.5 percent (±0.5%) to +0.3 percent (±0.3%). Retail trade sales were down 0.3 percent (±0.5%) from April 2011, but 8.0 percent (±0.7%) above last year. Gasoline stations sales were up 22.3 percent (±1.7%) from May 2010 and nonstore retailers sales were up 15.9 percent (±3.1%) from last year.

Obviously, Oil (NYSE:USO) prices are declining and may actually prove to keep summer retail sales better than originally expected.