Total retail sales for January increased 3.8% month-over-month (Briefing.com consensus 1.9%) following a downwardly revised 2.5% decline (from -1.9%) in December. Excluding autos, retail sales were up 3.3% month-over-month following a downwardly revised 2.8% decline (from -2.3%) in December. The effects of Omicron were apparent in the report, as evidenced by the 14.5% increase in nonstore retailer sales and the 0.9% decline in sales at food services and drinking places.
Retail sales are not adjusted for price changes, so higher prices likely played a part in the strong increase; nonetheless, the key takeaway from the report is that it speaks to a consumer that is still willing and able to spend in spite of the inflation.
Motor vehicle and parts dealers sales increased 5.7% after declining 1.6% in December.
Furniture and home furnishing store sales surged 7.2% after declining 7.4% in December.
Building material and garden equipment and supplies dealer sales jumped 4.1% after increasing 1.2% in December.
Gasoline station sales fell 1.3% after increasing 0.4% in December.
General merchandise store sales rose 3.6% after declining 1.7% in December.