With a late shopping rush around the holidays that ended a more moderate spending year, retail sales in the United States strengthened in December. Commerce Department data indicated that the value of receipts at merchants increased 0.3 percent and rose 5.8 percent from December 2018, Bloomberg reported.
Purchases at apparel stores rose the most as of March, and building material outlet sales registered their best advance as of August. Filling station receipts, on the other hand, moved up by 2.8 percent, notching their largest gain as of March. Retail sales rose 0.5 percent, with the exclusion of gasoline and automobiles, following a 0.2 percent decline the month before.
The retail “control group” sales rose 0.5 percent, which was a bit higher than a median forecast in a Bloomberg economist survey. The core measure does not include car dealers, food services, gasoline stations or building materials stores, which offers a better idea of underlying consumer demand.
Retail sales rose 3.6 percent for the entirety of last year, which marked a decrease from a nearly 5 percent gain in 2018, which was the biggest advance in six years. Consumers are likely to continue to be the main source of economic fuel as firms keep hiring and household sentiment remains elevated.
The news comes as U.S. retail sales in the United States increased by a level that was less than forecast in November. The Commerce Department said retail sales increased 0.2 percent in November. October’s data was revised to reflect that retail sales climbed 0.4 percent in lieu of 0.3 percent, as reported in the past.
Economists had forecast that retail sales would accelerate 0.5 percent in November, but they edged up just 0.1 percent in that month, excluding food services, automobiles, building materials and gasoline. Auto sales increased by 0.5 percent after climbing 1 percent in October, and more expensive gas prices increased service station receipts by 0.7 percent. Online retail and mail-order sales rose by 0.8 percent.