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Sales up slightly in January

Washington  – January retail sales showed “subtle” signs of the economy’s road to recovery with slight increases month to month, the National Retail Federation reported today.

Excluding sales of automobiles and gasoline and at restaurants, January retail industry sales increased 0.5% seasonally adjusted month-to-month. But they decreased 0.2% unadjusted year-over-year.

Retail sales for the month released today by the U.S. Commerce Department proved similar, with retail sales having increased 0.5% seasonally adjusted over December. However, it tracked better adjusted year-over-year results of 3.2%.

“We continue to see the economy show subtle signs of improvement,” said Rosalind Wells, chief economist for NRF. “While the recovery still has a long way to go, we remain encouraged by the latest retail sales figures.”

Post-holiday sales and gift cards helped consumers open up their wallets to take advantage of special deals on popular apparel, electronics and sporting goods items, NRF explained. Retailers offered special deals aimed at enticing shoppers to hit the stores to use gift cards they received over the holiday season and stock up on clearance items.

NRF offered a breakdown of monthly sales by merchandise category. With the housing market still showing signs of uncertainty, sales at furniture and home furnishing stores fell 1.4% seasonally adjusted over the previous month and 6.4% unadjusted year over year.

Electronics and appliance store sales increased 1.2% seasonally adjusted month to month and decreased 7.6% unadjusted year over year. 

Clothing and clothing accessory store sales increased 0.3% seasonally adjusted month to month and decreased 1.7% unadjusted from January 2009. 

Sporting goods, hobby, book and music stores also saw solid increases, with sales jumping 1.0% seasonally adjusted from December and 5.5% unadjusted year over year. Sales at health and personal care stores increased 0.1% seasonally adjusted month to month and 2.3% unadjusted year over year.

 

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