US retail sales keep dropping amid Covid-19 spikes

Washington, Jan 16 (IANS) US retail sales dropped by 0.7 per cent in December, marking the third monthly decline in a row, as the country struggles to cope with the unabated Covid-19 surge, the Commerce Department reported.

Excluding motor vehicles, parts and gasoline stations, retail sales fell by 2.1 per cent in December from the previous month, Xinhua news agency quoted the Department as saying in a report on Friday.

“US.retail sales declined more than we anticipated in December, and that cut into our high-frequency GDP model’s estimate of fourth-quarter GDP,” said Ryan Sweet, a senior director at Moody’s Analytics.

Sweet noted that, similar to the December employment report, Covid-19 “left its mark all over retail sales”,

Sales at food services and drinking places, for example, dropped 4.5 per cent in December after falling 3.6 pe rcent in November, he said.

Non-store retail sales dropped 5.8 per cent in December after falling 1.6 per cent in November, he said, adding that it was surprising to see declines in sales at grocery stores.

Despite the recent decline, total sales for the October-December period were up 4.0 per cent from the same period a year ago, the report showed.

Total sales for the 12 months of 2020 were up 0.6 per cent from 2019.

–IANS
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