skip to main content

Retail sales up strongly in December as Americans showed continued willingness to spend

AP News

NEW YORK (AP) — Americans stepped up their spending at retailers in December, closing out the holiday shopping season and the year on an upbeat tone and signaling that people remain confident enough to keep spending freely.

Retail sales accelerated 0.6% in December from November’s 0.3% increase, the Commerce Department reported Wednesday. Because spending by consumers accounts for nearly 70% of the U.S. economy, the report suggested that shoppers will be able to keep fueling economic growth this year.

Among last month’s overall retail purchases, sales at stores that sell general merchandise rose 1.3%. Sellers of clothing and accessories reported a 1.5% increase, as did online sellers. By contrast, furniture and home furnishings businesses declined 1%, reflecting a struggling housing market. Sales at restaurants were unchanged in December.

Economists had expected consumers to pull back on spending in the final three months of the year under the weight of credit card debt and delinquencies and lower savings. Yet despite those challenges, along with higher borrowing costs, tighter credit conditions and price increases, household spending is being fueled by a strong job market and rising wages.

Read More – Source