Government data show retail sales rising

The U.S. Census Bureau announced this morning that advance estimates of U.S. retail and food services sales for January were $381.6 billion on a seasonally adjusted basis. That's an increase of 0.3% from the previous month, and up 7.8% compared with January 2010. 

Total sales for the November 2010 through January 2011 period were up 7.6% from the same period a year ago.

Looking specifically at NAICS classification 444 -- Building material & garden equipment & supplies dealers -- advanced sales for January were $24.227 billion; that's down 2.9% from December's figure, but up 9.3% from the same month last year.

The Advance Monthly Sales report also revealed general retail trade sales were up 0.5% from December 2010, and 8.3% above last year. Auto and other motor vehicle dealers sales were up 16.7% from January 2010 and non-store retailers sales were up 13.5% from last year. 

All the figures above are adjusted for seasonal variation and holiday and trading-day differences, but not for price changes.