United States Retail December 2021

United States

United States: Retail sales contract for the first time since July in December

January 17, 2022

Retail sales fell 1.9% in month-on-month seasonally-adjusted terms in December, which contrasted November’s 0.2% increase. December’s decline was primarily due to a fall in purchases of automobiles, food and beverages, and fuel.

On an annual basis, retail sales rose 16.9% in December, which was down from November’s 18.2% expansion. Meanwhile, annual average retail sales growth rose to 19.4% in December (November: +18.2%). This signals an improving trend in the retail trade sector.

Commenting on the short-term outlook, Katherine Judge, senior economist at CIBC World Markets, noted:

“Spending in January will be flattered by the low base of comparison in December, despite the expectation for an only modest rebound in retail sales on a saturation of demand. The renewal of supply chain disruptions on omicron will also hold back progress in vehicle sales.”

FocusEconomics Consensus Forecast panelists see private consumption growing 3.8.% in 2022, which is up 0.1 percentage points from last month’s forecast. For 2023, the panel sees private consumption increasing 2.5%.


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