Total U.S. Retail Sales for January Up 5.5%

Total retail sales, excluding auto sales, grew by 5.5
percent year-over-year, on par with December’s growth rate, and slightly higher
than November’s, according to MasterCard Advisors’
SpendingPulse, a macroeconomic report tracking sales nationally.           
         

Strong sales also led to a rebound in shorter-term growth—on
a month-to-month seasonally adjusted basis, January sales were up by 1.8
percent, reversing the slowdown that month-to-month sales had posted in
December.

Excluding both auto sales and gasoline, on a seasonally
unadjusted basis, year-over-year sales in January grew by 4.6 percent, slightly
slower than November and December 2010.

Sectors showing positive results in January included
e-commerce, luxury, apparel, and travel, both in the airlines and lodging
categories. Weaker segments included jewelry, furniture, and automotive repair
& maintenance.

Spending grew in every part of the country, with the best
unadjusted year-over-results in the South Central and Southeast regions
respectively posting 9.7 percent and 7.7 percent growth.