Retail sales flat in April

KPMG Senior Economist Ken Kim offers three key takeaways from the report.

Kenneth Kim

Kenneth Kim

Senior Economist, KPMG US

+1 212-954-6144

Video transcript

Retail sales were unchanged in April missing expectations for an increase of 1%. However, March retail sales were revised higher to show an increase of close to 11%. So, what are the three key takeaways? First: Retail sales have been lumpy over the last several months due to the timing of relief checks sent to households, surging in the months in which they are received and then easing in the subsequent month. Due to this impact, it is a little bit more difficult to discern the signal from the noise, but we do see some broader trends in play. Second: Goods consumption rose sharply over the last 12 months helping to drive overall retail sales above pre-pandemic levels. Looking ahead though, we expect goods consumption to ease while services consumption is expected to increase. Indeed, sales at restaurants and bars were up strongly in the last two months in the retail sales report. Third: We expect to see an easing of the disequilibrium in the economy as both the goods and services size sector of the economy normalize in the months ahead.


Retail sales were unchanged in April, missing expectations for an increase of 1%. However, March retail sales were revised higher to show an increase of close to 11%.

So, what are the three key takeaways?

  1. Retail sales have been lumpy over the last several months due to the timing of relief checks sent to households, surging in the months in which they are received and then easing in the subsequent month. Due to this impact, it is a little bit more difficult to discern the signal from the noise, but we do see some broader trends in play.
  2. Goods consumption rose sharply over the last 12 months helping to drive overall retail sales above pre-pandemic levels. Looking ahead though, we expect goods consumption to ease while services consumption is expected to increase. Indeed, sales at restaurants and bars were up strongly in the last two months in the retail sales report.
  3. We expect to see an easing of the disequilibrium in the economy as both the goods and services size sector of the economy normalize in the months ahead.