January retail sales grew 2.7 percent over last year

"We are starting the year on a strong footing."

NRF Chief Economist Jack Kleinhenz

WASHINGTON – Retail sales in January increased 0.2 percent seasonally adjusted over December and were up 2.7 percent unadjusted year-over-year, the National Retail Federation said today. The numbers exclude automobile dealers, gasoline stations and restaurants.

“The strength of consumer spending continues to be the anchor of the current economic expansion,” NRF Chief Economist Jack Kleinhenz said. “January’s retail sales results reflect a confident consumer supported by solid wage growth and job gains. While the business sector continues to weigh significant uncertainties, consumers are providing staying power for U.S. economic growth. We are starting the year on a strong footing.”

January’s results build on increases of 0.3 percent month-over-month and 6.3 percent year-over-year in December. As of January, the three-month moving average was up 3.5 percent over the same period a year ago, compared with 3.9 percent in December.

NRF’s numbers are based on data from the U.S. Census Bureau, which said today that overall January sales – including auto dealers, gas stations and restaurants – were up 0.3 percent seasonally adjusted from December and up 4.4 percent unadjusted year-over-year.

Specifics from key retail sectors during January include:

  • Online and other non-store sales were up 7 percent year-over-year and up 0.3 percent month-over-month seasonally adjusted.
  • General merchandise stores were up 3.3 percent year-over-year and up 0.5 percent month-over-month seasonally adjusted.
  • Grocery and beverage stores were up 2.9 percent year-over-year and up 0.2 percent month-over-month seasonally adjusted.
  • Furniture and home furnishings stores were up 2 percent year-over-year and up 0.6 percent month-over-month seasonally adjusted.
  • Clothing and clothing accessory stores were down 0.7 percent year-over-year and down 3.1 percent month-over-month seasonally adjusted.
  • Building materials and garden supply stores were down 1.4 percent year-over-year but up 2.1 percent month-over-month seasonally adjusted.
  • Sporting goods stores were down 1.5 percent year-over-year but up 0.1 percent month-over-month seasonally adjusted.
  • Health and personal care stores were down 1.9 percent year-over-year and down 0.4 percent month-over-month seasonally adjusted.
  • Electronics and appliance stores were down 2.9 percent year-over-year and down 0.5 percent month-over-month seasonally adjusted.

About NRF
The National Retail Federation, the world’s largest retail trade association, passionately advocates for the people, brands, policies and ideas that help retail thrive. From its headquarters in Washington, D.C., NRF empowers the industry that powers the economy. Retail is the nation’s largest private-sector employer, contributing $2.6 trillion to annual GDP and supporting one in four U.S. jobs — 42 million working Americans. For over a century, NRF has been a voice for every retailer and every retail job, educating, inspiring and communicating the powerful impact retail has on local communities and global economies.