US retail, having had a horrible 2017, is suddenly reviving and booming as the Trump economy takes off:
Retail sales rose 0.8% in May, the government reported Thursday — much better than expected. Spending was up 5.9% from a year ago.
And the gains were broad: Spending surged at clothing stores, at restaurants and at home-improvement stores such as Home Depot (HD) and Lowe’s (LOW).
In fact, the jump in spending at physical stores in May outpaced what the government calls nonstore retailers, a category that includes Amazon (AMZN) and other online retailers. (It also includes catalog retailers, vending machines and even newspaper delivery. How quaint!)
American shoppers are feeling more confident because of a strong economy and job market. The unemployment rate is the lowest since 2000. And most people have some extra money from the tax cuts enacted late last year.
Auto sales are still rising, up 4% from a year ago despite a big surge in the price of gas. In fact, sales at gas stations rose 2% from April to May alone because of higher prices. Gas station sales are up 17.7% from a year ago.
However, the Federal Reserve has hiked interest rates and seems to intend to keep hiking them. Keep an eye on this, because enough interest rate hikes may well derail this recovery.