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Finally, U.S. retail sales released

The Census Bureau data is back, and NAICS 444 fared better than most categories.

BY HBSDealer Staff

Advance Monthly Retail sales showed hardware stores, home centers and building supply dealers at $29.400 billion in December on an unadjusted basis, up from $28.901 billion in December of 2017.

On an adjusted basis, December sales for NAICS 444 (building material and garden equipment and supplies dealers) were up ever so slightly – positive 0.3% — compared to November.

Meanwhile, overall U.S. retail and food services sales slipped in December. Adjusted for seasonal variation and holiday and trading-day differences, but not for price changes, total retail sales were $505.8 billion, down 1.2% from the previous month — the biggest monthly drop in more than nine years. Excluding automobiles, gasoline, building materials and food services, retail sales dropped 1.7% in December after a slightly upwardly revised 1.0% gain in November.

In total, retail sales were up 2.3% compared to December 2017.

On a monthly basis, NAICS 444 was a clear bright spot on the Census Bureau report. The only category to beat it was Motor vehicle & parts dealers, which showed a 1.0% increase on an adjusted basis. Twelve other retail categories declined compared to the prior month.

Sales at non-store retailers, which include online and catalog, fell 3.9% in December, the biggest monthly drop since November 2008.

The report was delayed by a 35-day partial shutdown of the federal government.

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