Retail Sales Rose 0.4% in January

U.S. retail sales rose 0.4 percent in January as consumers took advantage of post-holiday discounts while cutting back on car purchases and online shopping, the Commerce Department said today in Washington.

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Sales of cars and auto parts fell 1.1 percent in January, while shopping at non-store retailers, a category comprised mostly of online sales, also fell 1.1 percent.

The Commerce Department downwardly revised its readings for November and December, suggesting that consumers did not spend as much as previously thought during the holiday season.

Fueling the overall increase in retail sales, spending at gasoline stations rose 1.4 percent last month, while receipts for electronics rose 0.5 percent.

Excluding autos, retail sales were up 0.7 percent in January, more than projected. Sales excluding autos, gasoline, and building materials, which render the figures used to calculate gross domestic product, climbed 0.7 percent.

Nine of the 13 categories measured by the Commerce Department showed gains last month, led by a 2 percent jump at general merchandise stores, including department stores.

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