Minus cars, retail sales solid
February 15, 2005,
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Hobbled by a steep drop in car sales, U.S. retail sales slipped 0.3 percent during January, their weakest showing since an August decline. But pulling car sales out of the picture, retail sales were unexpectedly strong, rising 0.6 percent.
The biggest gainers during January were clothing and accessory stores, where sales jumped 1.8 percent, and gas stations, where rising fuel prices pushed sales up 1.8 percent. But elsewhere gains were more muted, and key home categories reported declines. Sales in furniture and home furnishings stores slipped 0.1 percent, following a 2.2 percent increase the month before. And sales in electronics and appliance stores dipped 0.6 percent, weakening further after December's 0.2 percent decline.