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NRF: Retail sales inched up 0.3% in January

Washington D.C. - In response to the increase in payroll taxes and rise in gasoline and energy prices, consumers adjusted their spending in January, lifting sales for the month slightly.

This is according to the National Retail Federation, which today reported January retail sales - excluding automobiles, gas stations and restaurants - increased 0.3% seasonally adjusted from December and increased 5.4% unadjusted year-over-year.

Sales at furniture and home furnishing stores' sales decreased 0.2% seasonally-adjusted month-to-month and increased 5.8% unadjusted year-over-year.

"Today's retail sales figures continue to indicate a stable yet fragile economy," said NRF president and ceo Matthew Shay. "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."

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% seasonally adjusted month-to-month and increased 4.7% 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."

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