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02/17/2021

January Brings New Gains for Grocery

January Brings New Gains for Grocery
According to some economists, the growth reflects gains from government stimulus checks as the pandemic and its various consequences continue to play out.

Spending at grocery and beverage stores increased by 2.4% month over month in January, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, and 11.6% year over year.

The latest retail spending figures from the federal government also show a 5.3% month-over-month gain in Jan. 2021, reaching $568.2 billion dollars. The year-over-year increase stood at 7.4%.

According to some economists, the growth reflects gains from government stimulus checks as the pandemic and its various consequences continue to play out.

“We expected retail spending to ramp up in January thanks to the latest round of stimulus checks and better COVID trends, and it clearly did,” said National Retail Federation (NRF) Chief Economist Jack Kleinhenz. “There was none of the falloff in spending that we often find post-holiday and the increase was even better than expected. There is plenty of purchasing power available for most consumers, and the pickup in shopping has even been reflected in the number of hours worked by retail employees. Confidence is building thanks to the availability of COVID-19 vaccines and states and local governments are beginning to remove restrictions on economic activity. Going forward, I expect consumer spending to build on this momentum.”

According to the NRF, January’s gains build on momentum seen during the November-December holiday season, when retail sales as calculated by the trade group increased 8% year over year to a  $787.1 billion even after being revised down from a preliminary estimate of $789.4 billion. For the full year, 2020 was up 6.7% over 2019.

According to NRF and the new census report:

· Online and other non-store sales were up 11% month-over-month seasonally adjusted and up 22.1% unadjusted year over year.

· Sporting goods stores were up 8% month-over-month seasonally adjusted and up 22% unadjusted year over year.

· Building materials and garden supply stores were up 4.6% month-over-month seasonally adjusted and up 13.7% unadjusted year over year.

· Grocery and beverage stores were up 2.4% month-over-month seasonally adjusted and up 11.6% unadjusted year over year.

· Furniture and home furnishings stores were up 12% month-over-month seasonally adjusted and up 9.3% unadjusted year over year.

· General merchandise stores were up 5.5% month-over-month seasonally adjusted and up 7.8% unadjusted year over year.

· Health and personal care stores were up 1.3% month-over-month seasonally adjusted and up 3.3% unadjusted year over year.

· Electronics and appliance stores were up 14.7% month-over-month seasonally adjusted but down 4.1% unadjusted year over year.

· Clothing and clothing accessory stores were up 5% month-over-month seasonally adjusted but down 11.3% unadjusted year over year.