Retail sales at U.S. stores rose 0.3% in January, above expectations due to gains in both motor vehicle sales and gasoline station sales, with mixed readings for the remaining components, according to data released yesterday by the Commerce Department.
Excluding the 0.6% gain in motor vehicle sales, retail sales rose 0.3%, but were flat when a 2.0% gain in gasoline station sales was also removed.
Total retail sales were stronger than the 0.1% decline expected. Analysts had forecast a decline in motor vehicle sales for the month. Sales excluding motor vehicles were slightly above the 0.2% gain expected.
Sales excluding both motor vehicles and gasoline were flat, with the remaining components mixed. The housing-related categories, however, were down. Furniture sales fell 0.5%, while sales of building materials and garden supplies fell 1.7%.
Total sales excluding autos, building materials, and gas were up 0.2% after a 0.1% decline in the previous month.
Retail sales for December were unchanged at a 0.4% decline, while excluding autos, sales were off 0.3% in the month compared to the 0.4% drop originally reported. Meanwhile, November sales were revised to a 0.8% rise from the previously announced 1.0% gain.
— Market News International