United States retail sales rise; core sales revised sharply higher
United States retail sales rise; core sales revised sharply higher
Holiday sales were among the strongest since the recession
13 January, 2018, 03:35
However, sales of some more discretionary items, such as sporting goods, book and music stores declined by 1.6%, alongside a 2.9% fall in those at miscellaneous store retailers. The nation's unemployment rate is at a 17-year low, and wages are inching up, giving consumers enough confidence to fill their carts, whether in stores or online.
On Friday, The Commerce Department announced that retail sales rose 0.4 percent last month and November's data was revised to illustrate that sales gained 0.9 percent instead of the previously reported increase of 0.8 percent.
The Labor Department said its consumer price index inched up by 0.1% in December after climbing by 0.4 in November. The gain represented the largest increase in the period since the 5.2% year-over-year gain enjoyed in 2010, the organization noted.
"Results are even better than anything we could have hoped for", federation CEO Matthew Shay said in a statement. "Whether they shopped in-store, online or on their phones, consumers were in the mood to spend, and retailers were there to offer them good value for their money". Nonstore retailer sales are up 12.7% year-over-year as online retailers continue to grow their market share.
Electronics and appliance stores increased 6.7% unadjusted year-over-year.
Pedestrians view a holiday window display at the Macy’s Inc. department store in New York
Excluding auto sales, retail sales still rose by 0.4 percent in December after jumping by 1.3 percent in November. The season came on the heels of the three strongest monthly year-over-year gains for retail sales since the fourth quarter of 2014, nominal disposable personal income was up a combined 3.5% year-over-year in October and November, and consumers were feeling better about using their credit cards, with outstanding balances up 6% year-over-year.
"The market conditions were right, retailers were doing what they know how to do, and it all worked", Jack Kleinhenz, the NRF's chief economist, said in a statement. Americans are more confident about the economy and are more willing to spend.
Sales gains weren't evenly distributed in December, according to First Data's SpendTrend. Sales last month were supported by a 1.2 percent jump in receipts at gardening and building material stores. General merchandise sales rose 0.1% from November and were up 4.4% for 2017, and department store sales fell 1.1% from November and rose 0.5% year over year. Retailers closed a record 7,000 USA stores past year, while dozens of big-name companies, including Gymboree, RadioShack and BCBG Max Azria, filed for bankruptcy.
Clothing and accessories stores increased 2.7% unadjusted year-over-year.
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Heading into 2018, it will be interesting to see if these trends continue or if production levels can pace closer to new orders. The New Orders Index increased 5.4 points to 69.4 in December, indicating growth for the fifteenth consecutive month.
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