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Special Report

Retail Sales Research Brief

May 2023

Improvement in Core Spending Reinforces Positive Outlook for Retail

Consumption tailwinds back demand for available space. Labor market resiliency, wage growth and easing inflationary pressures aided consumers’ spending power in April, supporting a 0.6 percent increase in core retail sales. Households concentrated their spending on essential goods and seasonal items during the month, generating sales growth across the health and personal care, building and gardening materials, and general merchandise categories. Consumers were also eager to spend more dining out, despite an increase in the price index for food away from home and a greater reliance on credit. Together, these spending trends have positive implications for retail space demand at a time when single-tenant vacancy is already historically limited, and multi-tenant vacancy is below pre-pandemic levels.

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