“The overall service sector weakened in January, damped by softness at services providers,” according to the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond service-sector activity survey released yesterday.
“Retail sales were nearly flat for the month, although big-ticket sales remained in decline,” the survey said. “For the first time since December 2007, shopper traffic rose. Merchants’ inventories also increased slightly in January. In contrast to the strengthening at retail establishments, however, revenues at services firms fell this month. Even so, survey respondents overall were upbeat about business prospects for the six months ahead.”