United States Retail

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United States: Cold weather hampers retail sales

February 14, 2014

In January, retail sales decreased 0.4% over the previous month in nominal terms. The print was down from the 0.1% drop recorded in December (previously reported: +0.2% month-on-month) and it came in under market expectations of no change. Nine of the thirteen categories of the retail index fell over the previous month. Automobile dealers, department stores, and clothing retailers recorded the largest losses. Analysts point to the unseasonably cold weather as the main reason for weaker retail activity.

Retail sales excluding cars and gas - a closely watched subcategory of the retail trade index - decreased 0.2% over the previous month in January. The reading contrasted the 0.1% rise registered in December (previously reported: +0.6% mom) and market expectations of a 0.2% increase.

Retail sales rose 2.6% compared to the same month last year. This figure was below the revised 3.6% increase recorded in December (previously reported: +4.1% year-on-year). The annual trend is pointing downward, with annual average growth in retail sales falling from 4.3% in December to 4.1% in January.

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:, Economist

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United States Retail Chart

USA Retail January 2014

Note: Month-on-month and year-on-year variation of nominal retail sales in %.
Source: United States Census Bureau.

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