Retail Sales Surge At Twice Expected Rate -- Stocks Still Heading Lower

Americans sure love to spend money.

April retail sales jumped 0.4% in April, which was twice the .2% analysts were looking for. Stocks are still shooting. Dow futures are off 87.

Here’s the full release.

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The U.S. Census Bureau announced today that advance estimates of U.S. retail and food services sales for April, adjusted for seasonal variation and holiday and trading-day differences, but not for price changes, were $366.4 billion, an increase of 0.4 per cent (±0.5%)* from the previous month and 8.8 per cent (±0.5%) above April 2009. Total sales for the February through April 2010 period were up 7.3 per cent (±0.3%) from the same period a year ago. The February to March 2010 per cent change was revised from +1.9 per cent (±0.5%) to +2.1 per cent (±0.4%).

Retail trade sales were up 0.5 per cent (±0.5%)* from March 2010 and 9.6 per cent (±0.7%) above last year. Gasoline stations sales were up 30.1 per cent (±1.5%) from April 2009 and motor vehicle and parts dealers sales were up 15.1 per cent (±2.5%) from last year.

The advance estimates are based on a subsample of the Census Bureau’s full retail and food services sample. A stratified random sampling method is used to select approximately 5,000 retail and food services firms whose sales are then weighted and benchmarked to represent the complete universe of over three million retail and food services firms. Responding firms account for approximately 65% of the MARTS dollar volume estimate. For an explanation of the measures of sampling variability included in this report, please see the Reliability of Estimates section on the last page of this publication.

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