With a rise in discretionary spending and building materials purchasing, retail sales in the U.S. increased by 0.2 percent in January. At the same time, however, it was noted that retail sales fell by 1.6 percent in December compared to the 1.2 percent that was previously reported, Reuters reported.
During the month, mail-order and online retail sales notched their largest gain as of December 2017 at 2.6 percent. Auto dealership receipts, however, fell by 2.4 percent in the month to mark the biggest decrease since January 2014. In addition, building material store sales rose by 3.3 percent.
Purchases at musical instrument, book stores and hobby shops spiked by 4.8 percent, while sales at bars and restaurants rose by 0.7 percent. And service station receipts dropped by 2 percent, amid less expensive prices for gasoline. Sales at appliance and electronic shops as well as furniture and clothing stores also notched decreases.
The retail sales reported for January was delayed by the federal government’s partial shutdown, which concluded on Jan. 25. While the retail sales report was supposed to be published on Thursday, it will now reportedly be delayed until April 1.
The news comes after it was reported that retail sales dropped by 1.2 percent in December on a seasonally adjusted basis to reach $505.8 billion. Economists in one survey, however, had predicted a 0.1 percent rise in sales. All major retail categories, with the exception of building materials as well as motor vehicles, fell during the month.
Department store sales fell by 3.3 percent, as sales at book and sporting goods retailers slid by 4.9 percent from the prior month. And sales at personal care and health stores slipped by 2 percent. While gas station sales fell by 5.1 percent from the month before, gas prices on average fell from $2.65 a gallon in November to $2.37 in December.