**Retail Sales Flat in April – Are Consumers Tapping Out?**

New York, NY – Retail sales in the United States were stagnant in April, raising concerns about consumer activity amidst persisting inflation and rising interest rates. The data, released by the Commerce Department, showed no increase from the previous month, a significant slowdown compared to March’s 0.6% rise. Economists had anticipated a 0.4% uptick in spending.

Excluding automotive and gas sales, overall retail sales actually declined by 0.1% in April, contrary to expectations of a 0.1% increase. Nonstore retailers, specifically online sales, experienced the most substantial drop at 1.2%, while sporting goods and hobby stores saw a 0.9% decrease. Conversely, clothing and accessories stores had a 1.6% increase, and gasoline sales rose by 3.1%.

Economists noted that certain one-off events, such as an early Easter holiday and a sales event by Amazon in March, likely influenced these fluctuations. This led to March showing boosted sales, resulting in exaggerated declines in April for some sectors.

The latest Consumer Price Index data for April showed a cooling in US consumer price increases, a welcomed shift for investors following a series of high inflation rates earlier in the year. This development has implications for the Federal Reserve’s stance on potential interest rate adjustments.

The slowdown in retail sales, combined with recent data indicating softer economic growth, has prompted economists to closely monitor the state of the US economy. Concerns about consumer spending have arisen due to elevated interest rates impacting discretionary spending and a cooling labor market affecting overall consumption patterns.

Despite the economic challenges, the overall resilience of the economy gives the Federal Reserve room to focus on inflation data when making future rate decisions. This delicate balance between economic factors will likely continue to shape policy decisions moving forward.