After two years of declines, hardware sales are up

Hardware store sales increased slightly in 2010, according to government data released Tuesday.  

The Census Bureau's Monthly & Annual Trade Report showed December sales for hardware stores -- NAICS code 44413 -- reached $1.684 billion in December, the most recent month of available data in this business classification. That unadjusted figure is up 4.5% from the unadjusted figure from December 2009.

For the full year, hardware stores sales were $18.756 billion, up 0.7% from 2009.

It was the first increase in NAICS code 44413 sales since 2007 showed an increase over 2006. 

The data was released Tuesday along with advanced monthly retail sales for January.