Retail sales ticked up in January as consumers adjusted their spending in response to the increase in payroll taxes and rise in gasoline and energy prices.
According to the National Retail Federation, the world’s largest retail trade association, January retail sales (excluding automobiles, gas stations and restaurants) increased 0.3% seasonally adjusted from December and increased 5.4% unadjusted year-over-year.
January retail sales, released today by the U.S. Department of Commerce, showed total retail and food services sales (which include non-general merchandise categories such as automobiles, gasoline stations, and restaurants) increased 0.1% seasonally adjusted month-to-month and increased 4.7% adjusted year-over-year.
“With the return of healthy housing prices, stronger employment statistics combined with historic highs on Wall Street at the end of 2012 and 2013, consumers seem a bit more confident these days,” NRF Chief Economist Jack Kleinhenz said. “Even though retail sales were relatively modest in January, consumers seem to have adjusted accordingly to rising taxes and energy prices. Far from secure, consumer confidence continues to be shaky.”
In late January, NRF released its annual retail sales forecast for 2013. NRF estimates that retail industry sales (excluding automobiles, gas stations and restaurants) will increase 3.4% in 2013, with online sales set to grow between 9.0 and 12.0%.
Other findings from the January retail sales report include:
• Clothing and clothing accessories stores' sales decreased 0.3% seasonally-adjusted month-to-month and increased 5.9% unadjusted year-over-year.
• Electronics and appliance stores’ sales increased 0.2% seasonally-adjusted month-to-month and increased 2.7% unadjusted year-over-year.
• Furniture and home furnishing stores’ sales decreased 0.2% seasonally-adjusted month-to-month and increased 5.8% unadjusted year-over-year.
• General merchandise stores’ sales increased 1.1% seasonally-adjusted month-to-month and decreased 0.3% unadjusted year-over-year.
• Health and personal care stores’ sales decreased 1.0% seasonally-adjusted month-to-month and increased 0.7% unadjusted year-over-year.
• Nonstore retailers’ sales increased 0.9% seasonally-adjusted month-to-month and increased 17.5% unadjusted year-over-year.
• Sporting goods, hobby, book and music stores’ sales increased 0.6% seasonally-adjusted month-to-month and increased 8.3% unadjusted year-over-year.
NRF represents retailers of all types and sizes, including chain restaurants and industry partners, from the U.S. and more than 45 countries abroad. Retailers operate more than 3.6 million U.S. establishments that support one in four U.S. jobs – 42 million working Americans. Contributing $2.5 trillion to annual GDP, retail is a daily barometer for the nation’s economy.