Old man winter stalls January sales

Sales off in six of eight retail sectors last month

Retail Editor 3, February 13, 2014

Washington - Consumer spending on retail merchandise was flat last month, according to the National Retail Federation, with business in the furniture and home furnishings store sector taking a hit.
January retail sales, excluding automobiles, gas stations and restaurants, were flat seasonally adjusted month-to-month. Year-over-over, sales increased 3.0% on an unadjusted basis.
Sales at furniture and home furnishing stores' dipped 0.6% seasonally-adjusted month-to-month and fell 2.1% unadjusted year-over-year.
January retail sales, released today by the U.S. Census Bureau, which include automobiles, gasoline stations, and restaurants, slipped 0.4% seasonally adjusted month-to-month but increased 2.6% adjusted year-over-year.
"Following a solid holiday sales season, it seems that many consumers decided to take a break from the stores and shopping malls this January in an attempt to avoid winter weather," said NRF president and ceo Matthew Shay.
NRF chief economist Jack Kleinhenz said it's difficult to determine how much of the slack in sales is weather-related - or whether consumers have simply decided to curtail their spending. "No one can jump to any solid conclusion until we shovel out of the snow," he added.
Additional sector performance included:

  • Building material and garden equipment and supplies dealers stores' sales increased 1.4% seasonally-adjusted month-to-month and 3.3% unadjusted year-over-year.
  • Clothing and clothing accessories stores' sales decreased 0.9% seasonally-adjusted month-to-month yet increased 1.4% unadjusted year-over-year.
  • Electronics and appliance stores' sales increased 0.4% seasonally-adjusted month-to-month yet decreased 4.9% unadjusted year-over-year.
  • General merchandise stores' sales decreased 0.1% seasonally-adjusted month-to-month yet increased 1.4% unadjusted year-over-year.
  • Health and personal care stores' sales decreased 0.6% seasonally-adjusted month-to-month yet increased 3.1% unadjusted year-over-year.
  • Nonstore retailers' sales decreased 0.6% seasonally-adjusted month-to-month yet increased 6.5% unadjusted year-over-year.
  • Sporting goods, hobby, book and music stores' sales decreased 1.4% seasonally-adjusted month-to-month and 1.5% unadjusted year-over-year.


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