January Retail Sales Were Up-But Not by Much

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Excluding motor vehicles and parts total retail sales grew by 0.8% on the month in January. And department store sales climbed 1.2 percent, which is the biggest jump since December 2015.

Retail sales are expected are expected to grow by 0.1% from the months before according to a survey of economists.

United States retail sales came in well ahead of expectations for the month of January, according to new data from the Commerce Department.

Consensus forecasts for January were for a rise of 0.1% on the month.

Total sales for the November 2016 through January 2017 period were up 4.6% from the same period a year ago. Economists had predicted a gain of 0.1 percent, but sales overall reached a 0.4 percent increase. Consumer spending accounts for as much as 70% of USA economic growth.

Sales at clothing stores increased 1.0%, the largest rise in almost a year. But online transactions remained flat, after soaring 1.9 percent in December. Electronics and appliance stores rose 1.6% following a decline of 1.1% in December.

Consumer spending is being supported by a tightening labor market, which is gradually boosting wage growth.

But they also indicate that improving consumer sentiment after President Donald Trump's presidential election, especially optimism among Republicans, has yet to significantly boost retail sales. "Lawmakers should take note and stand firm against any policies, rules or regulations that would increase the cost of everyday goods for American consumers".