US retail sales up a modest 0.3% in January

Business

US retail sales up a modest 0.3% in January

Sunday, February 16, 2020

Print this page Email A Friend!


WASHINGTON (AP) — US retail sales rose a modest 0.3 per cent in January, a slight improvement over December, as unseasonably warm weather boosted sales at hardware stores and furniture stores.

The Commerce Department said Friday (February 14) that the January advance followed a 0.2 per cent rise in sales in December.

The slight January gain was in line with expectations. However, economists were also expecting to see a solid gain in an underlying control group of retail sales which feeds into the government's calculations for overall economic growth.

Instead, sales in the control group showed no gain at all in January and the December performance was revised down to show a gain of just 0.2 per cent slower than the 0.5 per cent rise initially reported.

Consumer spending accounts for about two-thirds of economic growth and economists are counting on consumers to remain strong to offset weakness in other areas of the economy such as trade and business investment.

The overall economy grew at a 2.1 per cent rate in the fourth quarter but consumer spending slowed sharply to a 1.8 per cent growth rate, down from gains of 3.2 per cent in the third quarter and a sizzling 4.8 per cent rise in the second quarter.

For January, auto sales edged up a slight 0.2 per cent, rebounding from a 1.7 per cent plunge in December.

Excluding the volatile auto sector, retail sales would have risen 0.3 per cent January, just half the 0.6 per cent gain in the ex-auto category in December.

Part of the January weakness reflected falling gasoline prices which resulted in a 0.5 per cent decline in sales at gasoline stations after a 1.7 per cent increase in December.

Sales at furniture stores shot up 0.6 per cent, rebounding from a 1.6 per cent decline in December. Sales at hardware and other building supply stores surged 2.1per cent, building on a strong 1.3 per cent gain in December.

Sales at general merchandise stores, a category which includes department stores and big retail chains such as Target and Walmart, rose a solid 0.5 per cent in January, up from a 0.4 per cent December increase. The performance in the department store category alone was not as impressive, showing a tiny increase of 0.1 per cent in January following a 0.6% decline in December.


Now you can read the Jamaica Observer ePaper anytime, anywhere. The Jamaica Observer ePaper is available to you at home or at work, and is the same edition as the printed copy available at http://bit.ly/epaperlive


ADVERTISEMENT




POST A COMMENT

HOUSE RULES

1. We welcome reader comments on the top stories of the day. Some comments may be republished on the website or in the newspaper � email addresses will not be published.

2. Please understand that comments are moderated and it is not always possible to publish all that have been submitted. We will, however, try to publish comments that are representative of all received.

3. We ask that comments are civil and free of libellous or hateful material. Also please stick to the topic under discussion.

4. Please do not write in block capitals since this makes your comment hard to read.

5. Please don't use the comments to advertise. However, our advertising department can be more than accommodating if emailed: advertising@jamaicaobserver.com.

6. If readers wish to report offensive comments, suggest a correction or share a story then please email: community@jamaicaobserver.com.

7. Lastly, read our Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy



comments powered by Disqus
ADVERTISEMENT

Poll

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT

Today's Cartoon

Click image to view full size editorial cartoon
ADVERTISEMENT