The Census Bureau's Advance Retail Sales Report for May was released this morning. Headline sales came in at -1.35% month-over-month to two decimals and below the forecast of -0.8%. Core sales (ex Autos) came in at -0.66% MoM.

Here is the introduction from today's report:

Advance estimates of U.S. retail and food services sales for May 2021, adjusted for seasonal variation and holiday and trading-day differences, but not for price changes, were $620.2 billion, a decrease of 1.3% (±0.5 percent) from the previous month, but 28.1 percent (±0.7 percent) above May 2020. Total sales for the March 2021 through May 2021 period were up 36.2 percent (±0.5 percent) from the same period a year ago. The March 2021 to April 2021 percent change was revised from virtually unchanged (±0.5 percent)* to up 0.9 percent (±0.2 percent).

Retail trade sales were down 1.7 percent (± 0.5 percent) from April 2021, but up 24.4 percent (± 0.7 percent) above last year. Clothing and clothing accessories stores were up 200.3 percent (±2.8 percent) from May 2020, while food services and drinking places were up 70.6 percent (±3.0 percent) from last year. [view full report]

The chart below is a log-scale snapshot of retail sales since the early 1990s. The two exponential regressions through the data help us to evaluate the long-term trend of this key economic indicator.