After months of declining sales, the nation’s retailers saw sales rise 1 percent in January, better than analysts’ previous expectations of a 0.8 percent decline.
According to The New York Times, the Commerce Department reports that retail sales excluding autos rose 0.9 percent in January from the previous month.
Compared to sales a year ago, retail sales were down 9.7 percent from January 2008, reflecting lower gas prices and drastic cutbacks in consumer spending.
“We’re recovering from what looks like a very depressed level,” Michael Feroli, an economist at JPMorgan Chase told The Times. “While the consumer may be weak, I think the stretch of numbers you got from August to December were probably exaggerated by credit tightening and collapse of the financial system.”
Looking at the retail sectors, sales at electronics and appliance stores rose 1.6 percent, while sales rose 1.6 percent at clothing stores. Sales at grocery stores remained strong, rising 2.2 percent.