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US Stimulus Boosts January Retail Sales

Feb 18, 2021 4:42 AM   By Rapaport News
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US retail sales surged in January as government stimulus checks boosted consumer confidence, the National Retail Federation (NRF) said.

Revenues grew 7% year on year, and were up 5% over December’s total, which included holiday sales results, according to data the US Census Bureau reported Wednesday. That compares to a 2.5% year-on-year increase in December.

“We expected retail spending to ramp up in January thanks to the latest round of stimulus checks and better Covid-19 trends, and it clearly did,” said NRF chief economist Jack Kleinhenz. “There was none of the falloff in spending that we often find post-holiday, and the increase was even better than expected.”

January saw the first positive month-on-month jump since September, the NRF noted. However, sales have grown year over year every month from June.

Seven out of the nine retail categories the US Census Bureau monitors experienced month-on-month increases in January and all divisions gained versus the previous year. Clothing and accessories, which includes sales of jewelry, rose 5% over December, while online revenue from all segments climbed 11% month on month.

Meanwhile, imports at the US’s largest retail container ports are expected to surge and set new monthly records into the summer, as the economy continues to recover, NRF noted in its Global Port Tracker report, released in partnership with Hackett Associates.

“The import numbers we’re seeing reflect retailers’ expectations for consumer demand to the point that many factories in Asia that normally close for Chinese New Year this month are remaining open to keep up,” said Jonathan Gold, the NRF’s vice president for supply chain and customs policy.

Image: A couple shopping at the mall. (Shutterstock)
Tags: COVID-19, Global Port Tracker, Hackett Associates, Jack Kleinhenz, January Retail Sales, Jonathan Gold, National Retail Federation, NRF, Rapaport News, stimulus, US, US Census Bureau, US retail sales
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