May flowers: Where the U.S. retail blooms are and are not

Even Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell, who has taken pains lately to caution everyone that this is likely to be a fitful and for many a painful recovery, called Tuesday's retail sales report from the Commerce Department an encouraging sign. But, to be clear, while the rebound was strong overall, sales remain 8% below where they were in February, and many corners of retail are miles shy of where they were just three months ago when coast-to-coast stay-at-home orders brought many businesses to a full standstill. The anecdotes about jigsaw puzzle shortages have been circulating for months, but May's sales resurgence in the sporting goods, hobby, musical instruments and bookstore category shows this was no myth. Bicycles, home fitness gear and good, old books are also in high demand. Sales at hard-hit restaurants and bars shot up nearly 30% as states relaxed social-distancing rules, but that only brought the sector's overall receipts back to where they were a decade ago. Graphic: Clothing still faces a steep cliff - (Reporting by Dan Burns; editing by Jonathan Oatis)