January retail sales numbers posted annual gains, according to data issued today by the United States Department of Commerce and the National Retail Federation (NRF).
Commerce reported that January retail sales—at $529.8 billion—were 0.2% ahead of December’s revised $528.4 billion and were up 0.3% annually. And it added that total retail sales from November 2019 through January 2020 headed up 4.4% annually.
On a retail sales sector basis, Commerce reported that retail trade sales rose 0.1% compared to December and were up 4% annually, with nonstore retailers, which includes e-commerce sales, increased 8.4% annually, down from December’s 19.2% annual spread, which was likely a byproduct of holiday spending.
NRF reported that January retail sales rose 0.2% on a seasonally adjusted basis over December and were up 2.7% unadjusted on an annual basis. NRF’s numbers do not include automobile dealers, gas stations, and restaurants.
This increase to begin 2020 comes on the heels of a 0.3% sequential and 6.3% annual gain in December, and the three-month moving average through January was up 3.5% annually, slightly below the 39% three-month moving average through December.
“The strength of consumer spending continues to be the anchor of the current economic expansion,” NRF Chief Economist Jack Kleinhenz said in a statement. “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 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; and
Furniture and home furnishings stores were up 2% year-over-year and up 0.6% month-over-month seasonally adjusted, among others
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