Data from the US Census Bureau shows that retail and food sales fell 1.1% in December from November, but were up 6% from December 2021. For the entire year of 2022, retail sales were up 9.2% from 2021.
That growth looks impressive, but the conclusions economists draw from that data is more ambiguous. Eric Lundh, Principal Economists of The Conference Board, a nonprofit think tank, is quoted in the article saying that “We assume that overall real consumer spending will contract by 0.5 percent month-over-month in December versus the contraction of 1.1 percent in real retail sales.”
Independent retailers, on the other hand, grew by almost 10% from the previous year, according to NRSInsights. NRS processed this data through its Retail Solutions Point of Sale platform. The retailers surveyed include liquor and convenience stores mainly located in urban areas. Growth in these areas was mainly driven by holiday entertaining and party spending. Taken with the US Census Bureau data above, this growth might not signal an overall shift in the economy but a temporary, seasonal increase.
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