The nation's retail sales in January were 2.7% higher than the same month last year, as U.S. shoppers continued to open their wallets despite a wobbly economic climate marked by a global manufacturing slowdown, election year politics, and the rapidly expanding COVID-19 coronavirus.
Retail sales for January increased 0.2% seasonally adjusted over December, excluding automobile dealers, gasoline stations, and restaurants, the National Retail Federation (NRF) said today.
"The strength of consumer spending continues to be the anchor of the current economic expansion," NRF Chief Economist Jack Kleinhenz said in a release. "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."
January's results build on increases of 0.3% month-over-month and 6.3% year-over-year in December, NRF said. As of January, the three-month moving average was up 3.5% over the same period a year ago, compared with 3.9% in December.
NRF's numbers are based on data from the U.S. Census Bureau, which said today that overall January sales - including auto dealers, gas stations and restaurants - were up 0.3% seasonally adjusted from December and up 4.4% unadjusted year-over-year.