United States: Growth in retail sales inches down in December
January 14, 2014
In December, retail sales increased 0.2% over the previous month in nominal terms. The increase was down from the 0.4% recorded in November (previously reported: +0.7% month-on-month), but was slightly above market expectations of a 0.1% rise. Nearly half of the categories of the retail index expanded over the previous month. Food and beverage stores, along with gasoline stations, showed the strongest gains. Those improvements were partially offset by decreased sales in other categories, including motor vehicle and parts dealers as well as electronics and appliances stores.
Retail sales excluding cars and gas - a closely watched subcategory of the retail trade index - increased 0.6% over the previous month in December. The reading was up from the 0.3% rise registered in November (previously reported: +0.6% mom) and exceeded market expectations of no change.
Retail sales rose 4.1% compared to the same month of the previous year. This figure was slightly below the revised 4.2% increase recorded in November (previously reported: +4.7% year-on-year). The annual trend is pointing downward, with annual average growth in retail sales falling from 4.4% in November to 4.3% in December.
FocusEconomics Consensus Forecast panelists expect private consumption to grow 2.5% in 2014, which is unchanged from last month's forecast. For 2015, the panel sees private consumption increasing 2.7%.
Author: Carl Kelly, Economist