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Retail Sales Data

Census Retail Sales Data Shows Consumers ‘Still Engaged’

The National Retail Federation (NRF) says data released by the U.S. Census Bureau retail sales data shows that retail sales cooled in January but households continued to spend.

“Retail sales softened in January compared with the holiday season, but consumers were still engaged,” says Jack Kleinhenz, NRF chief economist. “Extreme weather likely disrupted product demand and consumption patterns. January prices for goods came down, which affects sales figures even if the same number of items are sold, and increased prices for services pulled dollars away from retail purchases. Nonetheless, January’s numbers point to the U.S. economy and labor market continuing to chug along.”

Data from the Census Bureau says overall retail sales in January were down 0.8% from December but up 0.6% year over year. That compared with increases of 0.4% month over month and 5.3% year over year in December.

January’s core retail sales as defined by NRF—based on the census data but excluding automobile dealers, gasoline stations and restaurants—were down 0.8% from December but up 2.8% year over year. Core retail sales were up 3.2%, unadjusted year over year on a three-month moving average as of January.

The numbers are in line with the CNBC/NRF Retail Monitor, which recently reported January sales nearly matched December’s levels. The retail monitor found core January retail sales were down just 0.04% seasonally adjusted from October and up 3.24% unadjusted year over year. That compared with increases of 0.19% month over month and 2.4% year over year in December.

About Jacob Musselman

Jacob is the content coordinator for Hardware Retailing Magazine. A lifelong Hoosier, Jacob earned a B.S. in journalism and telecommunications with a minor in digital publishing from Ball State University. He loves making bagels, going to farmers markets with his wife Hannah and two dogs and watching Formula One.

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