Retail sales grew ever so slightly in January

Excluding the 3.3% drop in auto sales, retail sales increased 0.6% in January, the U.S. Commerce Department reported.

It was the largest decline in retail sales in five months.

Sales had increased 1.1% in December, revised lower from the 1.2% originally reported. Sales excluding autos had risen 0.3% in December. November’s sales were also revised down a tenth of a percentage point.

Sales are up 7.2% in the past 12 months, while ex-auto sales are up 7.6%. The figures are seasonally adjusted, but not adjusted for price changes.

Retail sales account for about half of consumer spending and one-third of gross domestic product.

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