Today's retail sales report for the month of January came in better than expected on the headline number, but after taking out the impact of autos and gasoline prices, January retail sales were a bit weaker than expected.
The table below lists the monthly change in retail sales for the headline reading and each of its thirteen sub-components. During the month of January, six components showed increases, while seven sectors saw sales decline. Areas where retail sales were the strongest were General Merchandise (+1.12%), Non-store/Online (+0.91%, and Sporting Goods (+0.61%). On the downside, Miscellaneous (-2.58%) and Health and Personal Care (-0.98%) saw the largest declines during the month. Although today's report for January was far from robust, given the increase in the payroll taxes that took effect at the start the year, there is a view that it could have been worse.