United States retails sales grow 0.4 pct in December

Economy Watch: Retail Sales Gain Ground in December

Macy's reported 1.1 percent growth in same-store sales during that period, led by increased demand for active apparel, shoes, dresses and coats. Consumer spending, which accounts for more than two-thirds of USA economic activity, increased at a 2.2 percent annualized rate in the third quarter.

Spending at US retailers rose in December for the fourth consecutive month, capping the strongest year for sales growth since 2014 and showing a continued surge in online retail sales while department-store spending slowed during a key month of the holiday shopping season.

The Labor Department said its consumer price index inched up by 0.1% in December after climbing by 0.4 in November.

"Results are even better than anything we could have hoped for", federation CEO Matthew Shay said in a statement.

Shepherdson also pointed out the sharp 0.4% net upward revision to non-automobile sales for October and November, which he expected would trigger upward revisions to estimates of household consumption for the final three months of 2017.

More news: Boss still in dark over January budget

With unemployment at a 17-year low, a pickup in income, strong consumer confidence and a rising stock market, NRF Chief Economist Jack Kleinhenz said a number of factors provided a strong base for spending during the holidays. Visit MarketWatch.com for more information on this news. These so-called core retail sales correspond most closely with the consumer spending component of gross domestic product. The market conditions were right, retailers were doing what they know how to do, and it all worked. Excluding automobiles, gasoline, building materials and food services, retail sales increased 0.3 percent last month after an upwardly revised 1.4 percent surge in November. "We think the willingness to spend and growing purchasing power seen during the holidays will be key drivers of the 2018 economy", Kleinhenz said. General merchandise sales rose 0.1% from November and were up 4.4% for 2017, and department store sales fell 1.1% from November and rose 0.5% year over year.

December sales gained 0.4% seasonally adjusted from November and advanced 4.6% unadjusted year-over-year, NRF indicated, citing United States Census Bureau data.

Last month's sales were supported by a 1.2 percent jump in sales at gardening and building material stores.

Furniture and home furnishings stores increased 7.5% unadjusted year-over-year. Clothing/accessories and health/personal care clocked in weaker growth, up 2.7 percent and 2.2 percent, respectively.

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