NAICS 444 dealers show mild gains

Advance Monthly Sales Report looks back at December numbers.

Sales for retailers classified by the government as “building material and garden equipment and supplies dealers” — or NAICS 444 — showed positive numbers in December.

In the U.S. Census Bureau’s Advance Monthly Sales report for December, released Wednesday, NAICS 444 sales, on an adjusted basis, were $42.272 billion, that’s up from $42.156 billion in November. (Prices were adjusted for seasonal variation and for holiday and trading day differences, but not for price changes.)

NAICS 444 sales were an estimated $38.5 billion in December.

NAICS 444 sales also increased compared to the prior year, up 0.6 percent on an unadjusted basis.

Overall U.S. retail and food service sales in December slipped 1.1 percent (on an adjusted basis). However, compared to December of 2021, total retail sales increased 5.3 % on an unadjusted basis, outpacing the hardware and home improvement sector.

The National Retail Federation described the end-of-year sales growth as respectable, despite historic levels of inflation and the impact of interest rate hikes.

“Consumers shopped in record numbers and retailers delivered positive holiday experiences to inflation-wary consumers, offering great products at more promotional price levels to fit their stretched budgets,” said NRF President and CEO Michael Shay. “The fact that we saw retail sales growth on top of December’s 14% gain in 2022 shows the resilience of consumers and the creativity of retailers in driving consumption and economic activity while addressing high inflation and continued cost pressures.”

According to the NRF’s analysis of the two-month November-December holiday sales season, year-over-year gains occurred in all but two of nine retail categories, led by online sales, grocery stores and general merchandise stores. Specifics from key sectors for the two months combined, all on an unadjusted year-over-year basis, include:

  • Online and other non-store sales were up 9.5%.
  • Grocery and beverage stores were up 7.8%.
  • General merchandise stores were up 3.8%.
  • Sporting goods stores were up 3.5%.
  • Health and personal care stores were up 2.8%.
  • Clothing and clothing accessory stores were up 2.2%.
  • Building materials and garden supply stores were up 1.5%.
  • Furniture and home furnishings stores were down 1.1%.
  • Electronics and appliance stores were down 5.7%.

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