Retail trade sales in January increased by 0.4 percent from December, the Commerce Dept. announced.
That number also represents a 5.5 percent increase from January 2011.
Analysts called the number generally positive and another sign of a modest recovery.
Clothing and clothing accessories sales in September were flat from December, but up 5.3 percent from the year before.
National Retail Federation figures were similar, showing a 0.9 percent increase since December, and 4 percent jump over last year.
“As a traditionally slower sales month for the industry, it’s encouraging to see such sustained growth in consumer spending and sentiment,” Matthew Shay, NRF president and CEO, said in a statement.
The NRF also found sales at clothing and clothing accessory stores flat from December, but up 3.4 percent over January 2011.