December 2010 a Record Month for Retail and Food Services

by: Mark J. Perry

(Click to enlarge)

The Census Bureau reported today that U.S. consumers set a new all-time monthly record by spending $380.9 billion on retail and food services in December of last year. Without adjusting for inflation, this was the first time since the recession started in December 2007 that consumer spending has surpassed the pre-recession, previous record-high retail sales volume of of $380.0 billion set back in November 2007. The highest-ever retail spending amount in December was almost 8% higher than the year-earlier level, and spending in every category except department stores registered annual gains last month, with especially strong gains in sporting goods (7.1%), motor vehicles and parts (14.2%), building materials (13.1%), and clothing (7.4%). The 12-month retail sales total through December 2010 of $4.405 trillion was 6.6% ahead of the previous year's total.

For additional commentary see First Trust and Scott Grannis.