US retail sales increased last month, reflecting strength in several categories that highlights steady consumer spending.

The value of retail purchases rose 0.4% after an upwardly revised 0.7% decrease in March, Commerce Department data showed Tuesday. Excluding autos and gasoline, sales increased 0.6%. The figures aren’t adjusted for inflation.

While the overall figure came in below the median estimate in a Bloomberg survey of economists, excluding autos and gasoline, the gain topped expectations.

Seven out of 13 retail categories rose last month, including advances at auto dealers, general merchandise outlets and online merchants. The advance in April sales suggests low unemployment and steady wage growth are supporting demand for merchandise.

Still, Americans continue to shift more of their discretionary purchases to services and there are some signs consumers are overextending themselves. Sales fell at furniture retailers, sporting goods and other hobby stores, and at appliances and electronics outlets.

Receipts at restaurants and bars — the only service-sector category in the report — climbed 0.6%.

Recent data show credit-card balances continue to grow and are carrying higher financing rates, indicating further momentum in consumer spending may prove difficult. Federal Reserve policymakers are expected to pause their tightening campaign next month after raising interest rates by 5 percentage points since early 2022 to combat an inflation surge.

If the latest results from Home Depot Inc. are any indication, retailers see some tough sledding ahead. The home-improvement retailer earlier on Tuesday kicked off quarterly earnings season for big-box merchants by cutting its outlook. Comparable sales are now seen falling as much as 5% this year.

Consumer spending accounts for about two-thirds of GDP and more complete inflation-adjusted picture of April outlays including services will surface later this month.

The retail sales report will help shape economists’ estimates for personal spending and gross domestic product in the second quarter. Before the figures, the Atlanta Fed’s GDPNow forecast expected a 1.8% annualized increase in personal consumption and a 2.7% gain in GDP.

--With assistance from Jordan Yadoo and Olivia Rockeman.

This article was provided by Bloomberg News.