The Commerce Department just released May 2011 retail sales data, reporting that retail sales fell in May for the first time in 11 months. The decline was only 0.2 percent — less than the 0.4% decline economists had forecast. Here are some highlights from the May sales report:
  • Sporting Goods, Hobby, Book and Music sales declined 0.4%
  • Electronics and Appliances sales fell 1.3%
  • Clothing store sales increased 0.2%
  • Building Materials and Garden Equipment Suppliers sales increased 1.2%
The month of May included both Mother’s Day and Memorial Day weekend — two retail periods that typically coincide with shopping for flowers, gift cards, and women’s apparel (for mom!); or moving, installing a new ceiling fan, or grilling out over that long last weekend in May.

Looking ahead to Father’s Day and the month of June, it’s difficult to say just what will be driving retail sales. Will it be cordless drills? After all, what dad doesn’t like power tools? Steaks are also likely to be a hit, too. And when all that hard work and au jus ends up staining dad’s favorite T, what better gift than some new undershirts?

And let’s not forget that the July 4th weekend kicks off on Friday, July 1. As a result, June may see its fair share of grill and barbeque-related sales (grill tool sets!). Maybe the gift of the year for all the superstar dads will be this star-spangled “Caperon!” Of course, there’s always the default solution for the impossible to shop for pop: gift cards!

As for me, if my two year old happens to be reading this (wink, wink mommy): that Caperon, a new set of grill tools, and a juicy bone-in ribeye look like a mighty nice gift to me!

Posted by Justin Owings, The Google Retail Team