January Retail Sales Up 0.3 Percent, Says NRF


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WASHINGTON, February 13, 2013 – Retail sales ticked up in the month of January as consumers adjusted their spending in response to the increase in payroll taxes and rise in gasoline and energy prices. According to the National Retail Federation, the world’s largest retail trade association, January retail sales (excluding automobiles, gas stations and restaurants) increased 0.3 percent seasonally adjusted from December and increased 5.4 percent unadjusted year-over-year.

“Today’s retail sales figures continue to indicate a stable yet fragile economy,” NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay said. “Consumers are continuing to hold back on spending just as our economy is held back by political brinkmanship in D.C. The failure to address the critical challenges confronting our economy will continue to dampen consumer confidence, which will in turn mute sales and growth. The economy will continue to limp along until our politicians finally address our tax and spending challenges and put forward a pro-growth, pro-jobs agenda.”

January retail sales, released today by the U.S. Department of Commerce, showed total retail and food services sales (which include non-general merchandise categories such as automobiles, gasoline stations, and restaurants) increased 0.1 percent seasonally adjusted month-to-month and increased 4.7 percent adjusted year-over-year.

“With the return of healthy housing prices, stronger employment statistics combined with historic highs on Wall Street at the end of 2012 and 2013, consumers seem a bit more confident these days,” NRF Chief Economist Jack Kleinhenz said. “Even though retail sales were relatively modest in January, consumers seem to have adjusted accordingly to rising taxes and energy prices. Far from secure, consumer confidence continues to be shaky.”

In late January, NRF released its annual retail sales forecast for 2013. NRF estimates that retail industry sales (excluding automobiles, gas stations and restaurants) will increase 3.4 percent in 2013, with online sales set to grow between 9.0 and 12.0 percent.

Other findings from the January retail sales report include:
• Clothing and clothing accessories stores’ sales decreased 0.3 percent seasonally-adjusted month-to-month and increased 5.9 percent unadjusted year-over-year.

• Electronics and appliance stores’ sales increased 0.2 percent seasonally-adjusted month-to-month and increased 2.7 percent unadjusted year-over-year.

• Furniture and home furnishing stores’ sales decreased 0.2 percent seasonally-adjusted month-to-month and increased 5.8 percent unadjusted year-over-year.

• General merchandise stores’ sales increased 1.1 seasonally-adjusted month-to-month and decreased 0.3 percent unadjusted year-over-year.

• Health and personal care stores’ sales decreased 1.0 percent seasonally-adjusted month-to-month and increased 0.7 percent unadjusted year-over-year.

• Nonstore retailers’ sales increased 0.9 percent seasonally-adjusted month-to-month and increased 17.5 percent unadjusted year-over-year.
• Sporting goods, hobby, book and music stores’ sales increased 0.6 percent seasonally-adjusted month-to-month and increased 8.3 percent unadjusted year-over-year.

As the world’s largest retail trade association and the voice of retail worldwide, NRF represents retailers of all types and sizes, including chain restaurants and industry partners, from the United States and more than 45 countries abroad. Retailers operate more than 3.6 million U.S. establishments that support one in four U.S. jobs – 42 million working Americans. Contributing $2.5 trillion to annual GDP, retail is a daily barometer for the nation’s economy. NRF’s Retail Means Jobs campaign emphasizes the economic importance of retail and encourages policymakers to support a Jobs, Innovation and Consumer Value Agenda aimed at boosting economic growth and job creation. www.nrf.com

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