News Department

Census retail sales data shows consumers ‘still engaged’

Data released by the U.S. Census Bureau Thursday shows that retail sales cooled in January but that households continued to spend, National Retail Federation Chief Economist Jack Kleinhenz said.

“Retail sales softened in January compared with the holiday season, but consumers were still engaged,” Kleinhenz said. “Extreme weather likely disrupted product demand and consumption patterns. January prices for goods came down, which affects sales figures even if the same number of items are sold, and increased prices for services pulled dollars away from retail purchases. Nonetheless, January’s numbers point to the U.S. economy and labor market continuing to chug along.”

The Census Bureau said overall retail sales in January were down 0.8% from December but up 0.6% year over year. That compared with increases of 0.4% month over month and 5.3% year over year in December.

January’s core retail sales as defined by NRF – based on the Census data but excluding automobile dealers, gasoline stations and restaurants – were down 0.8% from December but up 2.8% year over year. Core retail sales were up 3.2% unadjusted year over year on a three-month moving average as of January.

Thursday’s numbers are in line with the CNBC/NRF Retail Monitor, powered by Affinity Solutions, which reported Monday that January sales nearly matched December’s levels.

The Retail Monitor found core January retail sales were down just 0.04% seasonally adjusted from October and up 3.24% unadjusted year over year. That compared with increases of 0.19% month over month and 2.4% year over year in December.

As the leading authority and voice for the retail industry, NRF provides data on retail sales each month and also forecasts annual retail sales and spending for key periods such as the holiday season each year.

Jay Edwards

Born and raised in Northwest NJ, Jay has a degree in Communications and has had a life-long interest in local radio and various styles of music. Jay has held numerous jobs over the years such as stunt car driver, bartender, voice-over artist, traffic reporter (award winning), NY Yankee maintenance crewmember and peanut farm worker. His hobbies include mountain climbing, snowmobiling, cooking, performing stand-up comedy and he is an avid squirrel watcher. Jay has been a guest on America’s Morning Headquarters,program on The Weather Channel, and was interviewed by Sam Champion.

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