U.S. shoppers likely increased spending at retailers in April, as the recovery continued to build strength, though at a slower pace from earlier in the spring when stimulus money arrived at most households.
Economists expect a Commerce Department report to be released Friday will show that retail sales—a measure of purchases at stores, at restaurants and online—increased by 0.8% in April. That would represent a marked slowdown from the 9.8% advance in March.
The March surge in retail spending came as the government distributed hundreds of billions in direct cash payments to households. That was similar to a large jump in retail sales during January, following a separate round of direct payments authorized by Congress at the end of 2020.
The stimulus checks “burned a hole through consumers’ pockets in those months and contributed to big, big surges” in retail sales, said Tim Quinlan, senior economist at …