January Retail Sales Rise Year-Over-Year

National Retail Federation shows January sales are up more than 5 percent from last year.

NORTH AMERICA–U.S. retail sales were down 0.26 percent over December on a seasonally adjusted basis and increased 5.4 percent year-over-year unadjusted, according to the National Retail Federation.

The January numbers follow a 5.1 percent unadjusted year-over-year growth in holiday sales during November and December, which was revised down slightly from the 5.5 percent initially reported. December was down 0.1 percent from November seasonally adjusted but up 3.8 percent year-over-year.

January retail sales were also up 5.2 percent on a three-month year-over-year moving average.

“These numbers reinforce a positive start to 2018 that reflects ongoing consumer optimism brought about by solid economic fundamentals,” says chief economist Jack Kleinhenz, NRF. “Consumer spending continues to grow at a steady pace and is showing year-over-year increases across almost all retail sectors. Employment has increased, labor markets are tightening, and wage growth is on the rise. Stock market headlines are a concern for some shoppers, but households have the wherewithal to spend, and the tax cuts consumers are now seeing in their paychecks will bring an added boost.”

Retail highlights from January include:

  • Online and other non-store sales were up 13.2 percent year-over-year and were unchanged from December.
  • Furniture and home furnishings stores increased 6.6 percent year-over-year, but down 0.4 percent from December seasonally adjusted.
  • Building materials and garden supply stores were up 6 percent year-over-year, but declined 2.4 percent from December seasonally adjusted.
  • Clothing and clothing accessory stores were up 3.1 percent year-over-year and up 1.2 percent from December seasonally adjusted.
  • General merchandise stores increased 3 percent year-over-year and up 0.2 percent from December seasonally adjusted.
  • Electronics and appliance stores were up 2.9 percent year-over-year and up 0.5 percent from December seasonally adjusted.
  • Health and personal care stores increased 1.8 percent year-over-year, but declined 1.2 percent from December seasonally adjusted.
  • Sporting goods stores showed the only year-over-year decrease, down 5.9 percent and also down 0.8 percent from December seasonally adjusted.