Sunday, November 23, 2014
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

January retail sales gain points to modest growth

By
From page A2 | February 14, 2012 |

WASHINGTON (AP) — Americans rebounded from a weak holiday season and stepped up spending on retail goods in January. The latest government report on retail sales pointed to a slowly improving economy.

Retail sales rose at a seasonally adjusted 0.4 percent last month, the Commerce Department said Tuesday.

Consumers spent more on electronics, home and garden supplies, sporting goods, at department and general merchandise stores and at restaurants and bars. They also paid higher prices for gas.

Spending on autos fell in January, the report showed, even though automakers had previously reported higher sales last month. That could mean that dealers offered more discounts to attract buyers.

The January retail sales figures were an improvement from December, which were downwardly revised to show a flat reading. And excluding autos, building materials and gasoline station sales, core retail spending jumped 0.7 percent.

The “retail sales data are better than they look, but they don’t suggest that consumption growth is about to set the economic recovery alight,” Paul Dales, an economist at Capital Economics, wrote in a note to clients.

The government’s retail sales report is its first look each month at consumer spending, which represents 70 percent of economic activity. The positive data suggest that hiring gains have boosted confidence and are encouraging more people to spend.

Economists had expressed concerns that consumers might pull back on spending this year because their wages hadn’t kept pace with inflation. And many consumers relied on savings to make up the difference.

The report suggests consumers are managing to increase spending at the same pace they did late last year, despite only small gains in pay.

“The good news is that the strong January gain establishes that the consumer trend is not folding,” said Pierre Ellis, an economist at Decision Economics.

Retail sales have risen about 21 percent since hitting a recession low. And they’re nearly 6 percent above their pre-recession high.

Sales on autos dropped 1.1 percent, which was a surprise given that dealers reported sales increases in January.

The retail sales figures from auto dealers and the automakers’ sales numbers don’t always match up. And dealers may have also offered discounts in order to boost sales. Low interest rates, better loan availability and new car models have helped drive sales higher in the last three months.

Sales at gasoline stations rose 1.4 percent last month, the most in 10 months. Gas prices have risen steadily in recent months. The average price for a gallon of gas was $3.51 on Monday, up 12 cents from a month earlier.

Consumers spent much more at general merchandise stores, a category that includes big chains such as Wal-Mart and Target and department stores such as Macy’s. Sales at those stores jumped 2 percent, after declining 0.7 percent in December.

And Americans are spending more at restaurants and bars, which reported a 0.6 percent increase in sales.

Sales at online and catalog retailers fell 1.1 percent, the most in almost two years, as shoppers likely pulled back after the holiday shopping season.

Consumers are taking on more debt after cutting back in the aftermath of the recession. Consumer borrowing, which includes credit cards, auto loans, and student loans, posted the biggest monthly gains in a decade in November and December.

The increases suggest consumers are more confident about the economy. But they could also mean that some are increasingly reliant on credit as wages have failed to keep up with inflation in the past year.

Hiring has picked up in recent months, which could support more spending. Employers added 243,000 net jobs last month, the fifth straight month of solid hiring.

The economy, meanwhile, expanded at an annual rate of 2.8 percent in the final three months of last year. Growth may slow a bit from that pace in the current quarter. Many economists forecast modest growth of 2 percent to 2.5 percent this year.

————

By Christopher S. Rugaber, AP economics writer

Comments

comments

The Associated Press

.

News

Hollywood readies its big guns for the holidays

By Derrick Bang | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Need for local foster parents grows

By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A1

 
Tactical robot decreases officer risks

By Lauren Keene | From Page: A1 | Gallery

Berkeley, Santa Cruz students protest fee hikes

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
Couple arrested on drug, firearm possession charges

By Lauren Keene | From Page: A2

Woman confronts suspicious follower

By Lauren Keene | From Page: A2

 
Bob Dunning: Signs, signs, everywhere a sign

By Bob Dunning | From Page: A2

For the record

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A2

 
Auction-bound student artwork stolen in downtown heist

By Lauren Keene | From Page: A3, 1 Comment | Gallery

UCD awarded $100M to lead program to predict, prevent pandemic threats

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A3

 
Breakfast with Santa tickets are going fast

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

Probationers, parolees graduate from Yolo transitional program

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4 | Gallery

 
Free boot camp, yoga fundraiser this week

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

 
Enterprise observes holiday hours

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

Bell-ringers still needed this holiday season

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

 
Give blood and get a free movie ticket

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

Thanksgiving feast is open to all

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

 
Workshop will answer financial aid questions

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

Yolo Food Bank invites locals to run with the flock

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

 
Museum announces holiday schedule

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

At the Pond: Stop, look and listen

By Jean Jackman | From Page: A5 | Gallery

 
Round up at the registers for Davis schools

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

Project Linus seeks donations

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A6

 
Swing your partner!

By Wayne Tilcock | From Page: A6

Fairfield School enjoys a festive feast

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A7 | Gallery

 
Right at home: gifts you can use and use up

By The Associated Press | From Page: A8

Dec. 10 jeans drive benefits STEAC

By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A9

 
Davis Community Church history recounted in Sunday talk

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A10 | Gallery

Open your heart

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11

 
Bob Hope interview pulled from ‘the vault’

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A12

.

Forum

There’s only one way to fix this

By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B5

 
Students barking up the wrong tree

By Our View | From Page: A14

Rick McKee cartoon

By Debbie Davis | From Page: A14

 
Heartbroken over treatment of teacher

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A14

Google, tell me. Is my son a genius?

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A14

 
Daryl Cagle cartoon

By Debbie Davis | From Page: A15

Cordial political discourse: Seven years later, the thoughts resonate

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A15

 
Easing the stress during college application season

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A15

How I want to be remembered

By Marion Franck | From Page: A16

 
Watch out for holiday weight gain

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A16

 
When the computer stares back

By Creators Syndicate | From Page: A16

.

Sports

Turnovers costly as UC Davis loses Classic, 41-30

By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Aggie men finish off Furman

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

Upset-minded Lions bounce UCD from WWPA tourney

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

 
New, old-look helmets not enough to lift UCD footballers

By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Late shot sinks Aggie women

By Spencer Ault | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
UCD roundup: Seniors play well in Aggie volleyball loss

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B3 | Gallery

Wire briefs: Kings get past depleted T-Wolves

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

 
With volleyball playoff berth, DHS accomplished its 2014 goal

By Evan Ream | From Page: B6 | Gallery

.

Features

.

Arts

.

Business

 
Don’t pass up the parking gift downtown

By Wendy Weitzel | From Page: A13

Doby Fleeman: Give thanks for our innovation culture

By Doby Fleeman | From Page: A20

 
Honey, spreads showcased at open house

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A20

.

Obituaries

.

Comics

Comics: Sunday, November 23, 2014

By Creator | From Page: B8