January Retail Sales Jumped 2.7%


January retail sales rose 2.7% compared with last year, according to the National Retail Federation, supported by strong performances in the online and general merchandise segments.   

Sales were flat when seasonally adjusted over December, creeping up just 0.2% year over year.   

NRF’s figures are based on data from the U.S. Census Bureau, which reported overall January sales up 0.3% seasonally adjusted from December and up 4.4% unadjusted year-over-year. While NRF’s figures exclude automobile dealers, gasoline stations and restaurants, the U.S. Census does build them in.

“The strength of consumer spending continues to be the anchor of the current economic expansion,” said Jack Kleinhenz, NRF chief economist. “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.”

Specifics from key retail sectors during January include:

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