Surprise! Sales Rise in January

According to the Commerce Department, retail sales rose 1.0 percent in January--ending a string of six straight months of declines.

The U.S. Census Bureau announced today that advance estimates of U.S. retail and food services sales for January, adjusted for seasonal variation and holiday and trading-day differences, but not for price changes, were $344.6 billion, an increase of 1.0 percent (±0.5%) from the previous month, but 9.7 percent (±0.7%) below January 2008. Total sales for the November 2008 through January 2009 period were down 9.5 percent (±0.5%) from the same period a year ago. The November to December 2008 percent change was revised from –2.7 percent (±0.5%) to –3.0 percent (±0.2%).

Retail trade sales were up 1.1 percent (±0.7%) from December 2008, but were 11.0 percent (±0.7%) below last year. Gasoline stations sales were down 35.5 percent (±1.5%) from January 2008 and motor vehicle and parts dealers sales were down 22.2 percent (±2.3%) from last year.

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