Low gas prices pulled down retail sales in January.
Sales at gasoline stations plunged by 23.5% over the prior year, the highest among all the kinds of business.
Overall, sales plunged 0.8% month-over-month, missing estimates for a 0.4% fall. Excluding auto and gas, retail sales rose 0.2%.
Via Twitter user Bluegrass Capital, this chart points out that on an annual basis excluding gas sales, retail spending was the strongest its been in four years, rising 6.6% over the prior year.
Capital Economics chief economist Paul Ashworth also noted that despite the plunge in the headline figure, sales growth looks poised to take off.
“With lower gasoline prices leaving households with more to spend on other goods and services, the labour market on fire, and consumer confidence back at its pre-recession level, we still expect to see a pick-up in the pace of underlying sales growth over the first half of this year,” Ashworth wrote in a note Thursday.
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