U.S. May retail sales up 1.2 percent

WASHINGTON – Higher sales of gasoline and autos helped U.S. retail sales jump 1.2 percent in May after dropping in April, the Commerce Department estimated Monday, according to a story from CBS MarketWatch on www.afxpress.com.

Gasoline sales rose 4 percent while motor-vehicle sales increased 2.7 percent – the biggest increase in six months, as automakers piled on more incentives to move the merchandise. Excluding vehicles, sales increased 0.7 percent in May after dropping 0.1 percent in April, and excluding both vehicles and gas, sales rose 0.3 percent in May after sinking 0.1 percent in April, according to the article.

Total sales were in line with expectations of economists surveyed by CBS MarketWatch. In April, sales fell a revised 0.6 percent. May's sales were up 8.9 percent, compared to May 2003. Sales in the first five months of 2004 were running 8.4 percent ahead of last year's pace. The figures are adjusted for seasonal differences, but are not adjusted for price changes, the authors of the article reported.

In May, sales of nondurable goods were stronger than for durables. Sales at leisure-time stores increased 0.1 percent.

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