NEW YORK - The nation's largest retailers reported only modest sales gains for May, as rainy weather in certain regions and a weak job market kept shoppers from splurging for yet another month.
"It is a little better than expected, but we still haven't broken out of a sluggish pace yet," said Michael Niemira, vice president of Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi.
Among the retailers releasing their May results Thursday was Wal-Mart, which reported a 2.1 percent increase in sales at stores open at least a year, known as same-store sales. Analysts had expected a gain of 2.2 percent. Total sales were up 10 percent.
Apparel stores for the most part reported sluggish sales, with a few exceptions such as Gap Inc., which said same-store sales rose 10 percent. Total sales for Gap were up 14 percent.
Same-store sales are considered the best indicator of a retailer's strength.