December Retail Sales Miss Expectations, Up Just 0.1%

Macy's retail sales, shopping

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Headline: December retail sales post an ugly number, growing just 0.1%, against expectations for a 0.4% month-over-month rise.Retail sales less autos declined 0.2% month-over-month. Watch for revisions to these numbers.

Expectations: Consensus is for a 0.4% month-over-month rise in retail sales, and a 0.4% month-over-month rise in retail sales less autos.

Analysis: December retail sales are usually expected to jump on holiday spending. Weak retail sales during the holiday season suggest weakness in the economy. This time around retailers resorted to offering heavy discounts to motivate consumers to shop.

Consumer spending accounts for over two-thirds of the economy, and retail sales account for nearly 50% of consumer spending. So, investors watch retail sales data to better understand changes in the economy. They also offer an insight into stock prices and trends among retailers.

Here’s a look at how December retail sales compare to previous months. The full release can be found here.