Retail sales barely rise in January
BY CHRISTOPHER S. RUGABER AP Economics Writer
Thursday, February 14, 2013
2/14/13 at 4:57 AM
WASHINGTON (AP) - Americans barely spent more last month at retail businesses and restaurants after higher taxes cut their paychecks. The small increase suggests consumer spending may be weak in the January-March quarter, which could hold back economic growth.
Retail sales ticked up 0.1 percent in January from December, the Commerce Department said Wednesday. That follows a 0.5 percent increase in December and is the smallest in three months. Sales fell at auto dealerships, clothing stores and furniture stores. They rose at home-improvement stores, gas stations and online retailers.
The retail sales report is the government's first look at consumer spending, which drives 70 percent of economic activity. Growth is likely to stay weak in part because nearly all working Americans are taking home less pay this year.
Original Print Headline: U.S. retail sales in new year climb 0.1 percent