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Special Report

Retail Sales Research Brief

April 2024

Retail Sector Boosted by Broad-Based Retail Sales Gains

Most store types report encouraging start to 2024. Consumers set a new benchmark for quarterly retail sales volume in the first three months of 2024 — roughly $1.55 trillion. Spending during the January-March span was up 3 percent when compared to the same period last year, despite slackening consumer confidence. This recent rise in spending occurred alongside consumers spreading their purchases across more types of retail, with seven of 10 major categories notching gains. While still prioritizing necessities, households reserved more of their incomes for eating out, general merchandise and items available online in the first quarter. This trend was most apparent in March, when spending across each of these categories reached a record tally, supporting a 1.1 percent year-over-year rise in inflation-adjusted core retail sales. Should these conditions continue, it should reinforce positive leasing activity.

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