Retail Sales End the Year on a Strong Note, Bolstering Hopes for Q4 GDP

January 22, 2020

Retail sales in the U.S. rose for a third consecutive month in December, adding to hopes that the economy continued moderate growth at the end of 2019. Sales for the month increased 0.3 percent last month, matching November’s upwardly revised sales and meeting economist predictions. Compared to the same month a year earlier, retail sales were up 5.8 percent.

Core retail sales, which do not include volatile categories like cars, gasoline and food, jumped by 0.5 percent, a big rebound from November’s 0.1 percent decline.

The strong sales are a welcome sign for an economy that has become increasingly reliant on consumer spending to maintain growth. After growing at an annual rate of 3.2 percent in the third quarter, consumer spending is estimated to have slowed to 2.5 in the fourth quarter.  

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