U.S. retail sales hike for the third consecutive month in December

Daniel Fowler
January 17, 2020

Holiday retail sales during 2019 grew 4.1 percent over the same period in 2018 to $730.2 billion, said the National Retail Federation on Thursday. Enhance in user spending is anticipated to believe slowed to around or below a 2.5% fee in the fourth quarter. In light of a weaker performance at the start of the quarter, control group sales dropped 0.3 percent annualized in the fourth quarter, a marked slowdown from 7.9 percent and 6 percent pace in the second and third quarter respectively.

The Commerce Department said Thursday that retail sales increased 0.3% in December from the previous month. Economists polled by Reuters had forecast retail sales would form 0.3% in December. Meantime sales at nonstore retailers, a category that includes internet merchants such as Amazon.com Inc., were up 0.2% on the month and rose 19.2% compared with a year earlier.

A dip in United States sales of autos last month put a dent in the final weeks of the all-important holiday shopping period, which was otherwise robust, government data showed Thursday. Sales at non-store retailers, a typically fast-growing category, rose just 0.2 percent on the month.

On an annual basis, sales were up 5.9 percent. As of December, the three-month moving average was up 4.1 percent over the same period a year ago, compared with 3.1 percent in November.

Economists had forecast claims would rise to 216,000 in the latest week.

Excluding automobiles, gasoline, building materials and food services, retail sales jumped 0.5 per cent last month after falling by a downwardly revised 0.1 per cent in November. J.C. Penney, Kohl's, Macy's, and L Brands, the parent company of Victoria's Secret, all reported sales declines, though Macy's drop was less than many Wall Street analysts expected. The recent signing of the "phase one" trade deal with China is expected to lend additional support, at least in the near term.

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According to the NRF, citing data from the US Census Bureau, retail sales in the 2019 Christmas season (excluding vehicle dealers, gas stations, and restaurants) rose 4.1% to $ 730.2 billion - at the high end of the October forecast an increase of 3.8% and 4.2%. The economy expanded at a 2.1% rush in the July-September length.

What's more, NRF observed the 2019 holiday sales output almost doubled up 2018's low 2.1% annual gain, which was negatively impacted by the government shutdown, stock market churn, and interest rate hikes.

The control measure excludes sales of food services, auto dealers, building-materials stores and gasoline stations and many economists believe it to be a more accurate guide of the underlying trend.

Furniture and home furnishings store sales advanced 2.6%.

Sales at electronics and appliance stores increased 0.6% from a month earlier. Spending at hobby, musical instrument and book stores rebounded 0.9%.

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