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U.S. Jewelry Store Sales -4% in January

Mar 12, 2015 10:17 AM   By Jeff Miller
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RAPAPORT... U.S. specialty jewelry store sales fell 4.1 percent year on year to $1.997 billion in January. The decline was not unexpected, after a preliminary drop of 1.9 percent for  jewelry and watch sales from all retail channels during the month at $4.5 billion.

Meanwhile, the government's advanced sales estimates for February signaled continued consumer spending softness as total retail sales, excluding automobiles, rose just 0.3 percent to $308.2 billion.  Advanced estimates for department store sales fell 3.1 percent year on year to $11.15 billion in February.  Retail trade sales rose 1 percent, the weakest increase in more than one year. Nonstore retail sales increased a solid 8.6 percent.

Lindsey Piegza, the chief economist at Sterne Agee, concluded that spending weakness is widespread across most categories and that U.S. consumers have pulled back markedly -- reflecting sluggish wage growth and growing concerns about how they will finance today's spending with tomorrow's wages.

"Lower gas prices were a welcome windfall, boosting spending in October and November, but by December, consumers have been squirreling away cost savings," she wrote in a note to clients. "Low gas prices alone are not enough to sustain spending patterns; support is needed from organic job and income growth."

Some pundits have blamed weak February retail sales on the weather; however, Sterne Agee noted that even seasonally adjusted figures were down, so stormy weather was not a factor. 


Tags: Consumer Spending, data, department stores, Jeff Miller, Jewelry, retail, sales, stores
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