Retail sales rise in January
February 14, 2012
Retail and food establishments followed an improved holiday season by selling even more in January, according to the latest estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau. Advance estimates of U.S. retail and food services sales for January — adjusted for seasonal variation and holiday and trading-day differences, but not for price changes — were $401.4 billion, an increase of 0.4% from December and 5.8%above January 2011. Total sales for the November 2011 through January 2012 period were up 6.3% from a year earlier. percent (±0.5%) from the same period a year ago.
Retail trade sales were up 0.4% from December 2011 and 5.5% above last year. Food services and drinking places sales were up 8.2% from January 2011, and building material and garden equipment and supplies dealers were up 8.1% year over year. A generally mild winter is likely the biggest reason for the sharp year-over-year increase in building and garden supplies.
Other categories showing strong growth over January 2011 were furniture and home furnishing stores, up 7.8%; motor vehicle and parts dealers, up 7.3%; and gasoline stations, up 7.4%. Much of the increase in gas station sales, however, is due to higher gasoline prices.
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