US retail sales rise just 0.2 per cent in December, but traditional holiday shopping weak - InfoNews

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US retail sales rise just 0.2 per cent in December, but traditional holiday shopping weak

FILE - In this Tuesday, Dec. 24, 2013, file photo, a man and woman carry shopping bags as they cross the street in San Francisco..The Commerce Department releases retail sales data for December on Tuesday, Jan. 14, 2014. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)
January 14, 2014 - 5:32 AM

WASHINGTON - Americans spent more on clothing and online in December. But they cut back almost everywhere else to end the holiday shopping season on a lacklustre note.

The Commerce Department says retail sales rose just 0.2 per cent last month. That follows strong gains in October and November, helped by healthy auto sales.

In December, auto sales fell 1.8 per cent. That offset a similar increase at gas stations, largely driven by rising prices. Excluding volatile spending on autos, gas and building supplies, retail sales rose a solid 0.7 per cent.

However, traditional holiday spending was disappointing. Americans spent less on furniture and electronics. And sales at department stores fell 0.7 per cent in December — and 3.3 per cent for the year.

In 2013, retail sales rose 4.2 per cent, the weakest in four years.

News from © The Associated Press, 2014
The Associated Press

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