Monthly sales inch up in December

December retail and food service sales rose by 0.2% above the previous month and 4.1% above December 2012, according to advance estimates released today by the U.S. Census Bureau.

Clocking in at a total figure of $431.9 billion for the month, December's year-over-year sales performance mirrored that of the larger 12-month period of 2013, which marked a 4.2% improvement over the year of 2012.

Similarly, retail trade sales were up 0.2% from November and 4.0% year-over-year.

December's highest performers were in the food & beverage stores category (NAICS 445), up 2.0% since November. Year-over-year, nonstore retailers (NAICS 454) showed the biggest jump by far with a 9.9% growth rate. Electronics & appliance stores (NAICS 443) suffered the most at -2.5% for the month and -1.4% for the year.

Building material and garden equipment & supplies dealers (NAICS 444) showed an adjusted sales estimate of $25.78 million in December, down slightly from November's $25.88 million but still ahead of December 2012's $25.26 million. The 12-month total for the category came in at $311.6 million, a 5.9% boost over 2012.