Third monthly drop for US retail sales

17 Janvier, 2021, 08:23 | Auteur: Auguste Feret
  • Retail sales fell in December amid COVID-19 surge

There wasn't a whole lot of shopping going on in December.in store or online.

U.S. retail sales dropped last month, the Commerce Department said Friday, marking the third straight month without any growth.

The slowdown in retail spending came amid a new wave of job losses, looming expiration of jobless benefits at the end of December, and renewed measures to slow the health crisis.

According to the Commerce Department, retail sales in December fell 0.7% to $540.9 billion.

Consumers cut back on spending almost across the board, with restaurants and bars among the hardest hit due to the shutdown of indoor dining closed in some states.

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December's weak retail sales report adds further evidence of an economy that lost speed at the end of 2020.

"Additional government spending as well as a fuller reopening of the economy that will bring back demand are all factors that will boost inflation over coming months", said Rubeela Farooqi, chief US economist at High Frequency Economics in White Plains, New York.

And there could be more to come.

The earlier-than-usual holiday shopping season was also a likely factor for the decline: The U.S. Census Bureau reported that sales at electronics and appliances stores as well as online retailers - two channels that are heavily favored for gifting - slumped a respective 4.9% and 5.8%.

Target said sales grew 17.2 percent in November and December compared with past year. Consumers cut back on spending almost across the board, with restaurants and bars among the hardest hit, due to the shutdown of indoor dining in some states. There were also gains in sales at building material stores as well as health and personal care outlets. (Both of those benefits began rolling out early this month.) And, just yesterday, President-elect Joe Biden - who will be sworn into office on January 20 - unveiled a sweeping $1.9 trillion plan that would include another $1,400 in checks and $400 in weekly jobless aid through September.

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