Retail sales showed a strong beginning for the year in January, nearly matching December’s busy holiday spending and rising significantly YoY, according to the CNBC/NRF Retail Monitor, powered by Affinity Solutions, released by the National Retail Federation. Click here to access January’s retail data.

“January sales continued the strong performance of retail sales in December, which is impressive coming off a record holiday season,” shared NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay. “More importantly, year-over-year growth was solid, showing consumers are still optimistic and willing to act on the spending power brought by growing employment and wages. This is a great start to the new year.”

Total retail sales, excluding automobiles and gasoline, were down 0.16 percent seasonally adjusted month-over-month (MoM) and up 2.34 percent unadjusted year-over-year (YoY) in January, according to the Retail Monitor. That compared with increases of 0.44 percent MoM and 3.07 percent YoY in December.

The Retail Monitor calculation of core retail sales – excluding restaurants in addition to autos and gas – was down a slim 0.04 percent MoM and up 3.24 percent YoY in January. That compared with increases of 0.19 percent MoM and 2.4 YoY in December.

This is the fourth month that the Retail Monitor, which was launched in November, has provided data on monthly retail sales. Unlike survey-based numbers collected by the Census Bureau, the Retail Monitor uses actual, anonymized credit and debit card purchase data compiled by Affinity Solutions and does not need to be revised monthly or annually.

January sales were up in six out of nine retail categories on a yearly basis, led by online sales, health and personal care stores and clothing and accessory stores, and up in five categories on a monthly basis. Specifics from key sectors include:

  • Online and other non-store sales were up 0.68 percent MoM seasonally adjusted and up 25.47 percent YoY unadjusted.
  • Sporting goods, hobby, music and bookstores were down 0.65 percent MoM seasonally adjusted but up 1.79 percent YoY unadjusted.
  • Clothing and accessories stores were up 0.52 percent MoM and up 5.9 percent YoY unadjusted.
  • General merchandise stores were down 0.64 percent MoM seasonally adjusted but up 1.14 percent YoY unadjusted.
  • Electronics and appliance stores were up 1.34 percent MoM seasonally adjusted but down 4.21 percent YoY unadjusted.
  • Health and personal care stores were up 0.51 percent MoM seasonally adjusted and up 9.7 percent YoY unadjusted.
  • Grocery and beverage stores were down 0.2 percent MoM but up 4.06 percent YoY unadjusted.
  • Building and garden supply stores were up 0.48 percent MoM but down 1.55 percent YoY unadjusted.
  • Furniture and home furnishings stores were down 0.97 percent MoM seasonally adjusted and down 6.35 percent YoY unadjusted.

To learn more, go here.

Data and chart courtesy CNBC/National Retail Federation Retail Monitor and Affinity Solutions