Retail sales in the United States reached a seasonally adjusted total of $649 billion in January 2022. Compared to January 2021, there was an increase in sales of 13%. Amongst the major retail categories, the largest year over year increases were seen in gas stations (33.4%), food service and drinking places (27%), and clothing stores (21.9%). Non-store retailers, online shopping, saw an increase of 8.4% compared to January 2021.
The only category with a year over year decrease was electronics and appliance stores, which had a decrease in sales of 2.9%.
Given the current high level of inflation, an analysis of real sales is warranted. Adjusted for the 7.5% growth in the consumer price index seen in the month of January, there was only a 4.5% increase in sales. With increasing oil prices, it is likely that real gas station and energy sales did not increase by as much as the data shows.
Overall, retail sales show positive economic tendencies ahead of several interest rate hikes that are planned for 2022. Declining motor vehicle production and consumer confidence could lead to decreases in sales in the upcoming months.