NRF: January retail sales up 0.3%

Washington -- 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, 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.”

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.
  • Sporting goods, hobby, book and music stores’ sales increased 0.6% seasonally-adjusted month-to-month and increased 8.3% unadjusted year-over-year.