Retail sales momentum slowed during the holiday shopping season. On a year-over-year basis, retail sales were up 2.9% in December versus 3.7% in November. On a month-over-month basis, retail sales declined 0.7% in December, following a 1.4% decline in November. The month-over-month declines were broad-based in December on a seasonally adjusted basis, with outsized declines for non-store (e-commerce) sales, electronic & appliance stores, food service & drinking places, and department stores. Sales at clothing and accessories stores were positive in December, but this followed a sharp decline in November. Sales of motor vehicles and parts and gasoline also showed relative strength in December. According to the Energy Information Administration, average US regular retail gas prices increased nearly 6% in the month. Excluding vehicles and gas, retail sales fell 2.1% in December, following a 1.3% decline in November.

READ MORE