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The retail landscape in the United States experienced a notable surge in December 2023, with a month-over-month increase of 0.6%, surpassing the projected 0.4% rise after a 0.3% uptick in November.
This substantial jump, the most significant in three months, was primarily fueled by an impressive 1.2% boost in auto sales. When excluding autos, retail sales still saw a commendable 0.4% increase.
The surge in sales was not confined to a single sector but spanned across various categories. Non-store retailers, attire outlets, general merchandise vendors, assorted retail shops, home improvement and gardening equipment, along with recreational gear, hobbies, musical supplies, and books, all witnessed increased sales. Even food and beverage stores experienced a modest 0.2% rise.
Conversely, certain sectors recorded a decline in sales. Health and personal care, gasoline stations, furniture stores, and electronics plus appliances witnessed a fall in sales. Despite these declines, food services and drinking establishments maintained their sales figures.
(Retail Sales, United States Census Bureau)
Taking a broader view of the year 2023, unadjusted retail sales showed a notable rise of 3.2%. This positive trend underscores the resilience and growth of the retail sector, particularly in the face of economic uncertainties.
The positive retail sales data had a ripple effect on financial markets. The yield on the 10-year US Treasury note surged to 4.1%, reaching its highest level in over a month. This uptick in yields contributed to heightened resistance against potential near-term interest rate cuts by the Federal Reserve. Simultaneously, the dollar index extended gains for a third consecutive session, touching 103.5 levels.
(US 10 Year Treasury Yield)
Several reputable sources provide insights into the robustness of holiday sales and the broader retail landscape:
A1: According to The Star, holiday sales rose by 3.8% in November 2023.
A2: Sectors such as health and personal care, gasoline stations, furniture stores, and electronics plus appliances witnessed a decline in sales, as reported by Reuters.
A3: Census.gov detailed a 0.6% increase in retail trade sales from November 2023.
The surge in US holiday retail sales in December 2023 showcases the resilience and growth of the retail sector. As we move into the new year, the positive momentum observed in the retail landscape sets a promising tone for economic recovery.
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