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.”