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January Sales Up, But Weak

Demand up at department stores, electronic stores and auto dealerships

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Retail sales rose 0.3 percent in January, the seventh straight increase, according to the U.S. Commerce Department. Excluding gasoline and autos, sales inched up 0.2 percent. The results mark the weakest gain since June.

Sales of clothing, building materials and lawn and garden items were down, although some of this can be attributed to the weather in parts of the country that received multiple winter storms.

Among retail sectors, sales grew 1.3 percent at grocery and liquor stores, by 1.2 percent at online and catalog stores, and by 0.5 percent at auto dealers, department stores, and health and beauty shops.

Yet sales declined 2.9 percent at building-supply stores and 1.3 percent among hobby, sporting goods, books and music retailers. Restaurants and bars saw the biggest drop since March 2009 with sales falling 0.7 percent.

 

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