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January Retail Sales Show Strong Gains Despite Both Omicron and Inflation
January Retail Sales Show Strong Gains Despite Both Omicron and Inflation
January Retail Sales Show Strong Gains Despite Both Omicron and Inflation
January Retail Sales Show Strong Gains Despite Both Omicron and Inflation
January Retail Sales Show Strong Gains Despite Both Omicron and Inflation

January Retail Sales Show Strong Gains Despite Both Omicron and Inflation

Feb. 21, 2022
Retail sales in January were up 3.8% from December and up 13% year-over-year.

Retail sales posted a strong sales increase in January despite having to deal with both COVID-19’s omicron variant, inflation and other challenges, the National Retail Federation said on Feb. 16.

“January’s numbers show that 2022 is starting very strong for consumers and retailers, especially on the heels of a record holiday season and record sales in 2021,” NRF CEO Matthew Shay said in a statement.

“While the year ahead has challenges with inflationary pressures, labor shortages, COVID-19 impacts and uncertainty related to international tensions in Russia and China, today’s numbers show that despite these concerns, consumers are spending, and the economy remains in good shape," Shay added. "We are confident that retail sales growth and overall consumer financial health can continue, and current pressures in the economy should be moderated if election-year political pressures don’t result in policy decisions that compound the challenges our economy is already facing.”

Sales Continue to Rise

The U.S. Census Bureau said overall retail sales in January were up 3.8% seasonally adjusted from December and up 13% year-over-year.

By comparison, December sales were down 2.5% from November but up 16.7% year-over-year.

Despite occasional month-over-month declines, sales have grown year-over-year every month since June 2020, according to Census data.NRF’s calculation of retail sales – which excludes automobile dealers, gasoline stations and restaurants to focus on core retail – showed January was up 4.7% seasonally adjusted from December and up 8.5% unadjusted year-over-year.

In December, sales were down 3.6% month-over-month but up 13% year-over-year. NRF’s numbers were up 12.5% unadjusted year-over-year on a three-month moving average as of January. January’s results follow a 14.1%  year-over-year increase in retail sales as calculated by NRF during the November-December 2021 holiday season.

Both the rate of growth and the $886.7 billion spent during the holidays were new records despite the pandemic and other factors. January sales were up in all but two categories on both a monthly and yearly basis, with year-over-year gains led by clothing and building materials stores and online sales.

Sector Sales

Specifics from key sectors include:

  • Clothing and clothing accessory stores were up 0.7% month-over-month seasonally adjusted and up 19.1% unadjusted year-over-year.
  • Building materials and garden supply stores were up 4.1% month-over-month seasonally adjusted and up 12.7% unadjusted year-over-year.
  • Online and other non-store sales were up 14.5% month-over-month seasonally adjusted and up 8.9% unadjusted year-over-year.
  • Health and personal care stores were down 0.7% month-over-month seasonally adjusted but up 7.7%t unadjusted year-over-year.
  • Grocery and beverage stores were up 11% month-over-month seasonally adjusted and up 7.2% unadjusted year-over-year.
  • General merchandise stores were up 3.6% month-over-month seasonally adjusted and up 6.4% unadjusted year-over-year.
  • Furniture and home furnishings stores were up 7.2% month-over-month seasonally adjusted and up 1.5% unadjusted year-over-year.
  • Sporting goods stores were down 3% month-over-month seasonally adjusted and down 0.8% unadjusted year-over-year.
  • Electronics and appliance stores were up 1.9% month-over-month seasonally adjusted but down 3% unadjusted year-over-year.

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