Retail sales picked up pace in January growing 0.4% after displaying no growth the previous month. The headline growth understates how positive this report is. Retail sales excluding autos and gas grew 0.6% in January after falling 0.2% in December. This strong core growth is encouraging as it may signal that November and December growth may have just been a blip rather than a true slowdown. Core growth is now back near the strong levels seen from August to October.
January’s growth in retail sales was led by purchases of necessities as general merchandise stores (excluding department stores), gasoline stations, and grocery stores were the strongest this month. Motor vehicle sales as well as sales at non-store retailers fared the worst, falling 1.1% over the month.
Read the report.