U.S. Retail Sales Surge Dramatically

Vehicle sales increased 1.8%.

At the strongest pace in 16 months, U.S. retail sales rose in May as American consumers made many more purchases than anticipated, a government survey showed June 13.

The Commerce Department said May retail sales rose 1.4%, smashing most Wall Street analysts' forecasts of a 0.6% increase. Sales also rebounded from a slight decline in the prior month. The bounce-back in sales was the strongest since January last year.

The strong rebound in retail activity is likely to cheer the Federal Reserve which has been making predictions that conditions are ripe for U.S. economic growth to improve.

Vehicle sales rebounded 1.8% in May after dropping 0.5% in the prior month while service station sales surged 3.8% after rising 1.8% previously. Clothing store sales soared 2.7% in May after declining 1.% in April while cafe and restaurant turnover rose 0.7%.

Over the past 12 months, overall retail sales have risen 5%, or 4.6% excluding the auto sector.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2007

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