Retail Sales Down 1.9% in December, Up 16.9% YoY

The Census Bureau's Advance Retail Sales Report for December was released this morning. Headline sales came in at -1.91% month-over-month to two decimals and was below the Investing.com forecast of -0.1%. Core sales (ex Autos) came in at -2.29% MoM.

Here is the introduction from today's report:

Advance estimates of U.S. retail and food services sales for December 2021, adjusted for seasonal variation and holiday and trading-day differences, but not for price changes, were $626.8 billion, a decrease of 1.9 percent (±0.5 percent) from the previous month, but 16.9 percent (±0.9 percent) above December 2020. Total sales for the 12 months of 2021 were up 19.3 percent (±0.5 percent) from 2020. Total sales for the October 2021 through December 2021 period were up 17.1 percent (±0.7 percent) from the same period a year ago. The October 2021 to November 2021 percent change was revised from up 0.3 percent (±0.5 percent)* to up 0.2 percent (±0.3 percent)*.

Retail trade sales were down 2.1 percent (±0.4 percent) from November 2021, but up 14.4 percent (±0.7 percent) above last year. Gasoline stations were up 41.0 percent (±1.6 percent) from December 2020, while food services and drinking places were up 41.3 percent (±4.0 percent) from last year. [view full report]

The chart below is a log-scale snapshot of retail sales since the early 1990s. The two exponential regressions through the data help us to evaluate the long-term trend of this key economic indicator.