Stronger Discretionary Spending Helps Boost Retail Sales for Seventh Straight Month, According to NRF
Washington, February 15, 2011 – With consumers showing spending power beyond the holiday season, January marked the seventh straight month of retail sales gains. According to the National Retail Federation, retail industry sales (which exclude automobiles, gas stations, and restaurants) for January increased 0.2 percent seasonally adjusted from December and 3.5 percent unadjusted year-over-year.
“In spite of the economic uncertainties that still exist, consumers are clearly demonstrating their desire to spend on discretionary items once again,” said NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay. “The industry is certainly benefitting from the renewed confidence we’re seeing in shoppers, although sustained growth in 2011 will largely rely on improvement in key economic indicators like employment and housing.”
“Many factors, including stock market gains, tax cuts, income growth and savings built up during the recession are contributing to the recent spur in consumer spending,” said NRF Chief Economist Jack Kleinhenz. “While some of what we saw in January is directly related to seasonal purchases, it’s encouraging to see spending on other discretionary items such as electronics also increased.”
January retail sales released today by the U.S. Commerce Department show total retail sales (which include non-general merchandise categories such as autos, gasoline stations and restaurants) increased 0.3 percent seasonally adjusted over December and 7.1 percent unadjusted year-over-year.
Strength in spending came from grocery stores, health and personal care stores and electronics and appliance stores. Clothing and clothing accessory stores sales decreased 0.3 percent seasonally adjusted over last month but increased 1.8 percent unadjusted year-over-year. Sales at grocery stores increased 1.4 percent seasonally adjusted from the previous month and 3.8 percent unadjusted year-over-year.
Sporting goods, hobby, book and music stores sales decreased 1.3 percent seasonally adjusted month-to-month and increased 0.4 percent unadjusted year-over-year. Electronics and appliance stores sales increased 0.3 percent seasonally adjusted over December and decreased 0.7 percent unadjusted year-over-year. Sales at health and personal care stores increased 0.5 percent seasonally adjusted month-to-month and 6.2 percent unadjusted over last year.
NRF will release its 2011 economic forecast Thursday, February 17.
As the world's largest retail trade association, NRF has the unique ability to represent the full breadth and scope of the retail industry. NRF's global membership includes retailers of all sizes, formats and channels of distribution including department stores, discount retailers, grocers, chain restaurants and drug stores. Membership also includes industry partners from the United States and more than 45 countries abroad. In the United States, NRF represents the breadth and diversity of an industry with more than 1.6 million American companies that employ nearly 25 million workers and generated 2010 sales of $2.4 trillion. www.nrf.com