May Has Slow Start
May has gotten off to a sluggish start according to independent retailers. The most recent data show that same store sales were down 2.51 percent compared to the same period in 2017. Customer counts were down 1.2 percent.
Last week the Bureau of Labor Statistics released its April Consumer Price Index Report, which showed that food at home prices had a decent one month increase at 0.3 percent. Individual categories making up that figure are fruits/vegetables (+1.0 percent), meat/poultry/fish/eggs (+0.7 percent), dairy (+0.4 percent), other (unchanged), cereal/bakery (-0.2 percent), and nonalcoholic beverages (-0.6 percent).
Over the past 12 months, food at home prices have increased 0.5 percent, though while still low, is an increase in the pace of inflation over last month. If inflation can start getting back to normal levels, around two percent, that could be a bit of relief for retailers.