CHRIS VERSACE: Good morning, Action Alerts Plus members. As you can see, I'm here at the New York Stock Exchange, getting ready for tomorrow's monthly members call. Be sure to tune in at 12:00 PM ET at the AAP homepage to catch that live broadcast.
Today, the economy remains in focus, with debt ceiling talks set to resume at the White House later today as investors look for clues from a series of Fed speakers. Our thinking is the Fed will continue to stick to its playbook, keeping interest rates higher for longer, which means the odds of a rate cut this year are rather dim. Our position on that was reinforced yesterday, when several Fed heads said just that, remarking the inflation fight is going to be a long one.
However, as we know, the market has yet to come to terms with that reality, and perhaps the treasure trove of Fed speakers today will help sober the market up to the likely course of Fed policy as more Fed heads make the rounds today and later this week. As they do, we'll continue to parse their language and assess if the market is coming around to the likely course of Fed policy or not.
Now, those higher rates for longer will have an impact on the consumer end spending. I say this because yesterday's credit report from the New York Fed showed consumer debt passed the $17 trillion mark for the first time. So far, consumers appear to be managing that debt, given wage growth. But with consumers leading into credit to fund spending, we'll continue to watch what's happening in the credit market to see if those spending levels are indeed sustainable.
Now, consumers contending with higher borrowing costs that sapped their spending is something we're going to see as interest rates move higher for longer, and that has us remaining bullish on the shares of Costco. Why? Because cash-strapped consumers will continue to lean into Costco to stretch those disposable spending dollars. And this morning's retail sales report confirmed just that.
So what did the April retail sales report have to say? Well, headline retail sales and restaurant spending rose 1.6% year-over-year. Retail-only sales rose just 0.5% compared to the year ago. And food service and drinking rose 9.4%, clearly a positive for our shares of Chipotle.
Digging further into the meat of the report, we saw that nonstore sales were up 8% year-over-year, clearly a positive for Amazon as consumers re-embrace digital shopping. And grocery store sales are up 3.7% again versus year-ago levels, a positive for PepsiCo's beverage and snacking business.
Stepping back, and we take a look at the April retail sales report in full, it tells us that consumers continue to spend, but they are doing so in a very selective fashion. I say this because the April retail sales report also showed declines in furniture, electronics, and clothing. Now, also stepping back and taking a wider look at the April retail sales report, its timing is, in my opinion, simply wonderful because it provides us with a barometer for retailers that are just starting to report their quarterly results over the February-to-April period.
Now, during that three-month window, retail sales rose 1.8% year-over-year. That's the yardstick by which we'll be able to measure quarterly results this week from Walmart, Target, TJX companies, Ross stores, Foot Locker, and others. Now, this morning, we already heard from Home Depot that shoppers are not picking up big-ticket items and are taking on smaller home projects.
That simply reinforces the view that consumers are becoming increasingly selective in their spending, focusing on dining and travel, which, of course, supports our positive stance on the shares of Chipotle and Clear Secure. Getting back to Costco, Costco's US comp sales for April, EX gas and foreign exchange were up 2.9% year-over-year. That compares to the 1.6% increase in retail and restaurant spending during the month as noted, again, by the April retail sales report.
And, members, that is today's rundown. Remember, our monthly call is tomorrow at 12:00 PM ET. And along with TheStreet's editor-in-chief Sara Silverstein, I'll be joined by Helene Meisler, and she'll be sharing her thoughts on several portfolio holdings. I think you'll want to see it, and we look forward to seeing you there. Thanks for watching.