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Livesquawk - US Retails Sales Boosted By Government Cheques
US Retails Sales Boosted By Government Cheques

The headline print smashed expectations of 1.1%. The prior reading was revised lower by three-tenths to -1.0%. This halted the three successive months of declines, although there are some minor negative revisions to the prior.



The control group – used for GDP calculation purposes and seen by analysts as a more reliable gauge of underlying consumer demand – came in way above the estimate of 1.0%, with December’s figure revised lower to -2.4% from -1.9%. Retail sales ex-autos surged 5.9% beating the 1.0% estimate and ex-auto and gas also printed well above forecasts, rising 6.0% versus the 1.0% projected.



Nine of the thirteen major categories posted a monthly gain. The biggest rises were seen in non-store retailers and sporting goods, while gasoline stations and electronic stores exhibited the largest pullback in January.


Economist's View

Berenberg Capital Markets’ Roiana Reid said, “January’s sales were boosted by the government’s USD600 income support checks to households and enhanced unemployment compensation, and the easing of the pandemic. We expect sales to continue to increase in the coming months as vaccines are more widely administered, state and local governments loosen restrictions, households receive additional income support checks from the government, and the pandemic ebbs.”