COLUMBUS, Ohio — A modest retail recovery continued during the month of May as discounters, drug stores and mass merchants led sales gains among retailers.
A composite of 30 retailers reporting sales for the four-week period ending May 30 showed same-store gains of 2.7% compared with the same period last year, according to Kantar Retail here. Kantar noted the May result was stronger than the 1.2% gain the same group posted in April, but slightly below expectations overall.
Analysts noted that the sales gains came despite a deep stock market decline late in the month, and some retailers said the late Memorial Day holiday could push some sales to June.
“These results provide some sign that the retail recovery will persist despite wealth declines, economic uncertainties and shifting shopping behavior,” Frank Badillo, senior economist at Kantar, said in a statement.
Among retailers selling food, BJ's Wholesale Club posted a comparable sales gain of 4% excluding gasoline, led by a 6% comp increase in food sales. BJ's noted that store traffic, excluding gasoline, increased 4% for the month but that the average sales ticket decreased slightly.
Costco Wholesale, Issaquah, Wash., said its comparable sales, excluding gasoline, improved by 5% in May. Target, Minneapolis, said comps were up by 1.3% in May — “somewhat below our expectation,” according to Gregg Steinhafel, its chief executive officer — but well ahead of a 6.1% same-store sales decline in the same period last year.
Shoppers maintained their confidence despite the market woes in May, and said they plan to shop less in dollar outlets in the future, according to Kantar's monthly ShopperScape survey, also released last week. Although the percentage of shoppers who said they were better off in terms of their investments decreased 5% from April, the figure was still up significantly from a year ago, Kantar said. Shoppers' perception of their household wealth held steady with regard to other metrics, Kantar added.