Sales at U.S. stores, restaurants and online retailers increased a seasonally adjusted 0.4% in April from the prior month, the largest gain in three months, the Commerce Department said Friday. Also, the University of Michigan reported its consumer-sentiment index rose to 97.7 in early May—the strongest reading since January, when sentiment reached a 13-year high.
While new-vehicle registrations fell 1.4% nationally in January through March, California dealers experienced a 0.7% increase in registrations, putting the state on the path for another year of sales exceeding 2 million vehicles.
In the same time frame, 4.8% of new vehicles registered in the Golden State were zero-emission vehicles and plug-in hybrids, the highest share ever recorded.
California’s new-car sales market is cooling down, but Golden State dealers remain on track to again ring up more than 2 million unit sales in 2017, according to the Sacramento-based California New Car Dealers Association.
CNCDA released its first-quarter 2017 report on Tuesday, showing 506,745 new-car sales in the period. That was up less than 1 percent from 503,463 in the opening quarter of 2016.
These are tough times for the U.S. retail industry, with stores closing at a record pace so far in 2017. It’s no secret why: Amazon is gobbling up more and more sales of clothing, electronics, and other items that once drew shoppers to department stores and malls. The grocery business has been a safe haven in recent years. Only about 1 percent of the roughly $1.5 trillion industry has moved online. That’s made supermarkets an attractive real estate tenant in an era when other shopping has moved from the mall to the living room couch.
American retailers are closing stores at a record pace this year as they feel the fallout from decades of overbuilding and the rise of online shopping. Based on the pace so far, the brokerage estimates retailers will close more than 8,600 locations this year, which would eclipse the number of closings during the 2008 recession.