U.S. retail and food services sales rose 0.8% to $502 billion in May, higher than a 0.4% hike expected, supporting expectations for an acceleration in economic growth in the second quarter.
Retail sales registered an upwardly revised 0.4% gain in April.
Excluding motor vehicle and parts, sales increased to $399.33 billion for the month from $395.76 billion in April, according to the advance data from the U.S. Census Bureau. Sales for motor vehicle and parts dealers edged up to $102.64 billion from $102.10 billion in the prior month.
Sales for nonstore retailers stood at $55.83 billion, up from $55.76 billion.
Year over year, total sales climbed 5.9% from $474.16 billion in May 2017.
Stronger than expected retail sales support the prospects of a rebound in real consumer spending in the second quarter following a soft first quarter, Morgan Stanley said in a research note. This moves Morgan Stanley's second-quarter real personal consumption expenditure estimate to 3.1% from 2.9% and the second-quarter GDP estimate to 4.1% from 3.9%.
This retail sales report confirms "a very strong recovery" by U.S. consumers expected during the second quarter, Wells Fargo said in a research note.