|U.S. retail sales increase in January|
|Written by Eric Tiansay|
|Wednesday, 13 February 2013 10:35 AM EST|
Retail sales grew in January, despite rising gas prices and a 2% payroll tax hike.
The U.S. Department of Commerce will announce U.S. retail sales figures for January this week, but a projected 0.1% retail sales rise in January follows a 0.5% increase in December, according to the median forecast in a Bloomberg survey of economists before Feb. 13 announcement. Core retail sales—excluding the more volatile categories of autos, building materials and fuel—rose 0.3%, according to the National Retail Federation (NRF).
"Today's retail sales figures continue to indicate a stable yet fragile economy," NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay said. "Consumers are continuing to hold back on spending just as our economy is held back by political brinkmanship in D.C. The failure to address the critical challenges confronting our economy will continue to dampen consumer confidence, which will in turn mute sales and growth. The economy will continue to limp along until our politicians finally address our tax and spending challenges and put forward a pro-growth, pro-jobs agenda."
Twenty major retailers recently reported that revenue at stores opened at least a year—an indicator of a store's health—increased an average of 5.1%, according to the International Council of Shopping Centers, which is above the trade group's 3% estimate, Associated Press reported.
Additionally, same-store sales for the more than 20 companies tracked by Boston-based research firm Retail Metrics rose 4.5% in January from the same month in 2012—the biggest year-to-year gain since September 2011, Bloomberg reported.
Gap, the largest U.S. apparel chain, posted an 8% gain in sales, double the average estimate of 4% in a survey by Retail Metrics. Target, the second-largest U.S. discounter, posted a gain of 3.1%, above projections of 1.7%.
Employers added 157,000 workers last month after an increase of 196,000 jobs in December and a 247,000 jump in November, according to the most recent U.S. Labor Department data, Bloomberg reported.