Feb 18, 2020
January retail sales grew 2.7% over last year

Retail sales in January increased 0.2% seasonally adjusted over December and were up 2.7% unadjusted year-over-year, the National Retail Federation (NRF) said. The numbers exclude automobile dealers, gasoline stations and restaurants.

“The strength of consumer spending continues to be the anchor of the current economic expansion,” said Jack Kleinhenz, chief economist with NRF. “January’s retail sales results reflect a confident consumer supported by solid wage growth and job gains. While the business sector continues to weigh significant uncertainties, consumers are providing staying power for U.S. economic growth. We are starting the year on a strong footing.

January’s results build on increases of 0.3% month-over-month and 6.3% year-over-year in December. As of January, the three-month moving average was up 3.5% over the same period a year ago, compared with 3.9% in December.

NRF’s numbers are based on data from the U.S. Census Bureau, which said that overall January sales – including auto dealers, gas stations and restaurants – were up 0.3% seasonally adjusted from December and up 4.4% unadjusted year-over-year.

Specifics from key retail sectors during January include:

  • Online and other non-store sales were up 7% year-over-year and up 0.3% month-over-month seasonally adjusted.
  • General merchandise stores were up 3.3% year-over-year and up 0.5% month-over-month seasonally adjusted.
  • Grocery and beverage stores were up 2.9% year-over-year and up 0.2% month-over-month seasonally adjusted.
  • Furniture and home furnishings stores were up 2% year-over-year and up 0.6% month-over-month seasonally adjusted.
  • Clothing and clothing accessory stores were down 0.7% year-over-year and down 3.1% month-over-month seasonally adjusted.
  • Building materials and garden supply stores were down 1.4% year-over-year but up 2.1% month-over-month seasonally adjusted.
  • Sporting goods stores were down 1.5% year-over-year but up 0.1% month-over-month seasonally adjusted.
  • Health and personal care stores were down 1.9% year-over-year and down 0.4% month-over-month seasonally adjusted.
  • Electronics and appliance stores were down 2.9% year-over-year and down 0.5% month-over-month seasonally adjusted.

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