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Economy in Brief

U.S. Retail Sales Tick Higher
by Tom Moeller  February 13, 2013

Growth in consumer spending throttled back last month following a firm ending to last year. January retail sales ticked up a minimal 0.1% following an unrevised  0.5% December increase. November's increase was raised to 0.5% from 0.4%. The latest uptick matched expectations, according to Action Economics. Retail sales excluding autos rose 0.2% after an unrevised 0.3% December gain. A 0.1% rise was expected.

On the firmer side were sales at general merchandise stores which increased 1.1% (-1.0% y/y), although that followed four consecutive months of decline. Sales at nonstore retailers gained 0.9% (15.7% y/y), the third consecutive month of strong increase. Gasoline service station sales rose 0.2% (0.8% y/y). Also rising were electronics and appliance store sales, up 0.2% (1.3% y/y). Finally, sales of building materials gained 0.3% (2.0% y/y) for the second consecutive month. To the weak side, prior strength in motor vehicle purchases evaporated last month and they fell 0.1% (+8.0% y/y). That followed strong increases in four of the prior five months. Sales of furniture & home furnishings were similarly weak and they fell 0.2% (+3.2% y/y). Apparel store sales fell 0.3% (+4.4% y/y). Food & beverage store sales slipped marginally (+2.8% y/y ) and restaurant & food service sales also were down a bit (+6.5% y/y). 

The retail sales figure are available in Haver's USECON database. The Action Economics figures are in the AS1REPNA database.

 

Retail Spending (%) Jan Dec Nov Jan Y/Y 2012 2011 2010
Total Retail Sales & Food Services 0.1 0.5 0.5 4.4 5.0 8.0 5.5
  Excluding Autos 0.2 0.3 0.0 3.6 4.5 7.4 4.5
Retail Sales 0.1 0.4 0.4 4.1 4.8 8.3 5.8
  Motor Vehicle & Parts -0.1 1.2 2.7 8.0 7.6 10.8 10.8
 Retail excluding Autos 0.2 0.2 -0.2 3.1 4.1 7.6 4.7
  Gasoline Stations 0.2 -1.7 -4.5 0.8 3.7 17.8 14.7
 Non-Auto Less Gasoline 0.2 0.5 0.7 3.6 4.1 5.9 3.2
Food Service Sales -0.0 1.4 1.2 6.5 7.1 5.9 3.2
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