"US retail and food service sales forecasts for April 2021 were largely unchanged from March 2021. Consumer retail spending in April was a seasonally adjusted total of $ 619.9 billion. April spending numbers reflect the continued positive sentiment of the Consumers on Current Economic Environment as Consumer Confidence rose sharply in April after rising sharply in March, and retail spending in April also captured the latest round of stimulus payments, vaccine distribution and the easing of pandemic-related restrictions.
While April retail spending was stable, April year-over-year numbers far exceeded the norm as sales rose dramatically from April 2020. Retail sales published today rose 51.2% from April 2020. While the numbers are fantastic, last year's numbers have been very grim as the pandemic has forced retailers and retailers as a whole to act differently, if at all. Given that April was the worst month of 2020 and is the baseline comparison for that month's numbers, April 2021 growth rates are cheap. This month's numbers illustrate the difference between those retailers who stayed open and those who didn't. The benefits of payments for the economic impact on spending actually showed in March, and while April numbers are marginally better, it shows retail spending is making solid headway.
Adjusted data from the U.S. Census Bureau recorded a significant year-on-year increase for both March 2021 and April 2021 because they were atypical given the different economic comparative conditions. While the numbers declined from month to month last year, sales have increased every month since June 2020 year over year.
Using the adjusted census data, retail sales declined 0.3% from March 2021 and increased 46.1% year over year, resulting in huge gains across the board. The largest increase was in apparel and apparel accessories stores, up 726.8% from April 2020. The catering and drinking opportunities increased by 116.8% compared to the previous year. Using data that has not been seasonally adjusted results in a 45% year-over-year increase in retail sales, a 711% increase in apparel and apparel accessories stores, and a 119% increase in dining and drinking options. "