Formerly Red-Hot Retail Sales Fizzle Back to Normal

WOLF RICHTER | March 11, 2019

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January retail sales confirm the trend seen late last year: Overall retail sales, including at restaurants and bars (“food services and drinking places”), had been running at red-hot growth rates starting in 2017, reaching 6.6% year-over-year last summer; and they’re still growing year-over-year but at a slower rate, with sales at auto dealers and parts stores acting as a drag, and with sales at restaurants and bars acting as a push. Total retail sales, including at restaurants and watering holes, rose 2.3% year-over-year in January, to $504 billion (seasonally adjusted), according to the Commerce Department this morning. December sales were revised downward to a year-over-year growth of 1.6%. So, growth, but way below the red-hot growth rates last year. This chart shows the percent change in monthly retail sales, compared to the same month a year earlier.

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