US Retail Sales Climb

Date: January 16, 2017

Holiday, December Sales Up According To Data


According to the latest Commerce Department data, US retail sales rose 0.6 percent in December for a total of $469.1 billion during the month. The AP noted that the Commerce Department report also showed “a small 0.2 percent gain” that upwardly revised November’s sales gains. In addition, auto sales “jumped 2.4 percent in December,” the biggest gain since April, and gas station sales “rose 2 percent” due to higher prices. According to Bloomberg News, the Commerce Department’s report showed that sales at all US retailers “increased 4.4 percent in December” on an unadjusted basis from the year before. A further breakdown of the retail sales data showed “purchases at department stores fell 7.2 percent,” while non-store retailers’ sales increased 10.4 percent, representing “the sixth month of double-digit gains last year.” Examining results from the 2016 holiday season, the Washington Post reported that the National Retail Federation similarly announced “that retailers had a healthy 4 percent increase, with a total haul of $658.3 billion. That’s better than the 3.6 percent the trade group had forecast and a significant improvement over the 3 percent growth recorded last year.” The Post described “a striking incongruity: The industry is faring well, while some of its most recognizable names are not. And it is indicative of a retailing landscape that increasingly is sorting into winners and losers, in which consumers’ bolstered confidence is translating into big spending in some corners of the mall and the Internet, and not so much in others.”

What This Means For Small Businesses

Many small businesses rely on strong December and holiday season buying to make future business decisions. Data showing healthy spending among US consumers over the holiday season, and December as a whole, is a promising signal that the economy may be gaining steam.

Additional Reading

The Wall Street Journal also reported on the latest Commerce Department data.

Note: this article is intended to keep small business owners up on the latest news. It does not necessarily represent the policy stances of NFIB.

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