Monthly sales down 0.4% in January
The U.S. Census Bureau released its monthly retail and food services sales report Thursday, which pointed to a slight setback of 0.4% for the month but a 2.6% gain over January of last year.
Weather was partly to blame for the dip, according to the National Retail Federation.
At $427.8 billion, total sales for the month fell below December's, which also received a downward revision from 0.2% above November sales to 0.1% below month-ago figures.
Excluding food service, retail trade sales were down 0.4% month-over-month, but 2.6% above last year.
Building material and garden equipment and supplies dealers (NAICS 444) brought home an adjusted figure of $26.4 billion in January, up from December's $26.0 billion. This reflects a 1.4% improvement for the month and a 3.7% improvement for the year.
"Following a solid holiday sales season, it seems that many consumers decided to take a break from the stores and shopping malls this January in an attempt to avoid winter weather,” NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay said. “While the dip in retail sales was somewhat anticipated, it is concerning that both jobless claims came in above projections and that consumer spending were flat in January – it’s not the way to kick off a new year."