Most retail categories increase except for automobiles; clothing sales look optimistic
According to a report by Bloomberg, US retail sales rose more than forecast in January, in a broad-based advance. The 0.4% January advance followed a 1% gain in the month before, that was larger than previously reported based on a recent US Commerce Department report.
Apart from a decline in automobile sales, US retail sales increased the most in four months. Steady hiring, a modest improvement in wage growth as well as discounting are the factors that are keeping US consumers spending, constituting to a solid start to Q1 of 2017. Purchases of household-related items — which account for about 70% of the economy — are projected to drive growth. Meanwhile, this expanding business optimism suggests a possible pickup in investment.
Earlier estimates for US retail sales ranged from a 0.2% decline to a 0.5% advance. The December reading was previously reported as 0.6 % increase.
Increase in most categories
Ten out of 13 major retail categories showed a pickup in sales value in January. Merchants of electronics and appliances, sporting goods and clothing led the pack, according to the US Commerce Department report.
Retail sales — excluding automobiles and gasoline service stations — increased 0.7%, exceeding projections. This was the biggest gain since April 2016. Automobile dealers’ sales fell 1.4% after a 3.2 % surge in the previous month.
The US Commerce Department’s retail figures that are used to calculate GDP — and which exclude categories such as food services, auto dealers, home-improvement stores and service stations — remained resolute. The group’s sales rose 0.4% for a second month.
Purchases of electronics and appliances advanced 1.6% in January, the most since June 2015, while purchases of sporting goods climbed 1.8%, the biggest advance since July 2015. Clothing retailers had a 1% increase in receipts, the most since February 2016.