Retail Sales Increase in January, but December was Even Weaker than Initially Thought

March 11, 2019

U.S retail sales rose unexpectedly in January, but the good news was tempered by a large downward revision to December’s sales. Sales for January rose 0.2 percent from the previous month, and are up 2.3 percent from a year ago. Economists had expected no change from the previous month.

The unexpected increase will likely not change expectations of a slowdown in growth for the first quarter, and December’s weaker than thought numbers have economists worrying about the fourth quarter’s GDP. December’s initial data showed a drop of 1.2 percent, but revisions now show that the month’s sales tumbled 1.6 percent. This is the largest drop since 2009, when the nation was in the midst of a recession.

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