Keeping you up to date on the latest data releases.
- Retail Sales
Retail sales edged up 0.1 percent in December, following upwardly revised 0.4 percent and 0.7 percent gains in November and October, respectively. The series is up 6.5 percent on a year-over-year basis. Autos sales—up 1.5 percent in December—were much of the reason for an overall increase. Excluding autos, retail sales actually fell 0.2 percent during the month, following a 0.3 percent gain in November, but are still up 6.0 percent over the past year. Cross-category sales performance was mixed in December, with 7 of 13 broad categories seeing nominal sales gains. Outside autos, sales gains were strongest at building material and garden equipment and supplies dealers (up 1.6 percent), furniture and home furnishing stores (up 1.0 percent), and clothing and clothing accessories stores (up 0.7 percent). On the other hand, sales at electronics and appliance stores (down 3.9 percent), gasoline stations (down 1.6 percent), and general merchandise stores (down 0.8 percent) led declining categories. “Core” retail sales (sales excluding autos, building supplies, and gas stations)—a less noisy indicator of the trend in consumption growth—slipped down 0.2 percent in December, following a 6-month string of fairly robust gains. On the fourth quarter as a whole, core retail sales rose at an annualized rate of 5.3 percent, roughly in-line with its third quarter increase of 5.1 percent and its year-over-year growth rate of 5.4 percent.