April bookstore sales fell 2.9%, to $669 million, compared to April 2017, according to preliminary estimates from the Census Bureau. This marked the first decline after two positive months.
For the year to date, bookstore sales were $3.26 billion, down 2.7% compared to the first four months of 2017. The cumulative loss for 2018 so far is largely attributable to January results, when bookstore sales fell 8.6%.
Total retail sales in April rose 3.7%, to $484.5 billion. For the year to date, total retail sales have risen 4.8%, to $1,878.4 billion.
Note: under Census Bureau definitions, the bookstore category consists of "establishments primarily engaged in retailing new books."