January retail sales up 17.2% over last year

U.S. retail sales for the month of January jumped 17.2% over the same month in 2003, ShopperTrak’s National Retail Sales Estimate (NRSE) reports.

“January sales growth has to be described as nothing short of fantastic,” said Michael Niemira, chief economist and director of research for the International Council of Shopping Centers. “One of the reasons for this strength was the added ‘sales power’ from the heavy use of gift cards and certificates during the 2003 holiday season. Not even bouts of frigid weather in parts of the U.S. could stop the consumer in January.”

ShopperTrak also reported a strong 13.2% gain in year-over-year sales for the final week in January, although sales volume was off by 8.8% from the prior week.

Developed by ShopperTrak, the NRSE provides a nationwide benchmark of retail sales. It is derived from the U.S. Commerce Department’s GAFO (general merchandise, apparel, furniture, sporting goods, electronics, hobby, books and other related store sales) statistic, as well as ShopperTrak’s proprietary industry intelligence on shopper movement and sales statistics.