United States: Increase in retail sales in January is better than expected
February 12, 2016
In January, nominal retail sales increased 0.2% over the previous month. The result was in line with the revised 0.2% increase tallied in December (previously reported: -0.1% month-on-month) and was a bit better than the 0.1% expansion the markets had expected. Retail sales are a good indicator of the evolution of consumer spending, a key part of economic growth in the United States, as it accounts for over two thirds of overall GDP.
January’s result mainly reflected rising sales of electronics, food items in grocery stores and products in miscellaneous store retailers.
Retail sales excluding motor vehicles and car parts as well as products sold in gas stations—which is a closely-watched subcategory of the retail trade index—jumped 0.4% in January over the previous month, which came in above the 0.1% rise registered in December.
On an annual basis, growth in retail sales picked up quickly from 2.4% in December to 3.4% in January. The reading marked the fastest growth rate in a year. The annual trend declined slightly, with annual average growth in retail sales moderating from 2.2% in December to 2.1% in January.
Author: Ricardo Aceves, Senior Economist