December DIY Fared Better Than Expected

Chicago One sector that showed a less-than-expected decline in December was the home-improvement category, as data released Wednesday showed December sales at home-improvement retailers fell 5.5%, a dramatic improvement from the month before.

Sales were down about 14% in November from a year earlier, according to the statistics released by the U.S. Census Bureau.

Piper Jaffray analyst Mitchell Kaiser said companies such as Lowe's Cos. and The Home Depot may have gotten a small December boost from colder temperatures that swept much of the country, sending shoppers to stores to buy shovels, ice-melting salt and insulation products.