January sales met expectations with total sales up +0.2% to December and up 3.4% to January 2015. Additionally, the December retail sales were revised from down 0.2% to up +0.1%. This continues to lead me to believe sales are nowhere near as dire as the media would lead you to believe. Headlines would lead you to believe that the warmer winter, strong dollar and glut of stores is leading to the death of retail. In reality, retail sales remain positive with the recurring trends intact: online up, big ticket (auto, furniture) up and restaurants up. Don't listen to the headlines largely driven by department stores that continue to see weakness as wallet share shifts to discount and online. A few highlights from January:
- Sporting, non-store (online) remain strong year over year with 9.1% and 8.7% growth respectively
- Restaurants passed grocery months ago and haven't looked back
- The Electronics vacuum of sales to online continues with an accelerated decline of 4.2%
- Department Stores multi-decade decline continues with a drop of 3.8% year over year
December Retail Sales can be found here.