The Commerce Department announced today that retail services sales fell 0.4 percent in April, compared with March.

Retail sales declined 10.1 percent from a year earlier.

Total sales from February through April 2009 declined 9.2 percent from a year earlier.

April retail trade sales fell 0.4 percent from March, and declined 11.4 percent from a year earlier. Gasoline station sales dropped 36.4 percent from a year earlier and motor vehicle and parts dealers saw 20.7 percent fewer sales.

Here’s a breakdown of results by industry for retail and food services:

  • Electronics and appliance stores – down 2.8 percent
  • Gasoline stations – down 2.3 percent
  • Grocery stores – down 1.1 percent
  • Food and beverage stores – down 1 percent
  • Clothing and clothing accessories – down 0.5 percent
  • Furniture and home furnishings stores – down 0.5 percent

On the plus side:
* Health and personal care stores – up 0.4 percent
* Sporting goods, hobby, book and music stores – up 0.3 percent
* Building material and garden equipment – up 0.3 percent
* Food services and drinking places – up 0.2 percent

I know for me, I’m cutting back on non-essential spending. I’m going to the library more and trying to stretch my dollar by pretty much never eating out. I think if we look at the industries where sales rose you see people spending money on making themselves feel better in this dismal economic time. As they say, when the economy falls, lipstick sales rise. The little things can help people feel better.

What small things make you happy? Leave a comment and tell us.

May 13, 2009