Department reported on Friday the sales at U.S. retailers fell 0.7 percent
m-o-m in December, following a revised 1.4 percent m-o-m drop in November
(originally a 1.1 percent m-o-m decline).
Economists had expected total sales would be flat m-o-m in December.
According to the report, the largest declines in retail sales were recorded in electronics and appliance stores (-4.9 percent m-o-m), restaurants and bars (-4.5 percent m-o-m), food and beverage stores (-1.4 percent m-o-m) and general merchandise stores (-1.2 percent m-o-m), which were impacted by the re-imposition of restrictions to slow the spread of coronavirus.
Excluding auto, retail sales decreased 1.4 percent m-o-m in December after a revised 1.3 percent m-o-m drop in the previous month (originally a 0.9 percent m-o-m decline), being much worse than economists’ forecast of a 0.1 percent m-o-m fall.
Meanwhile, closely watched core retail sales, which exclude automobiles, gasoline, building materials and food services, and are used in GDP calculations, plunged 1.9 percent m-o-m in December after a revised 1.1 percent m-o-m drop in November (originally a 0.5 percent m-o-m decline). Economists had forecast core retail sales growing 0.1 percent m-o-m in December.
In y-o-y terms, the U.S. retail sales grew 2.9 percent in December after a revised 3.7 climb in the previous month (originally a 4.1 percent jump). This was the smallest gain since July.
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