This morning’s headline retail sales number came in weaker than expected, only increasing 0.3% month-over-month for January when it was expected to rise 0.5%.But there are two numbers in the report that stand out from the others, showing a marked month-over-month increase in spending.
They are gas stations and grocery stores.
Gasoline station sales spiked 1.4%, month-over-month, from December to January. More alarmingly, they’re up 12% year-over-year from January 2010.
Food and beverage store sales are up 1.3%, month-over-month, from December to January. They’re up 4.3% year-over-year.
Things like clothing stores, building materials, and sporting goods are all down month-over-month. Sales are still up at those stores, year-over-year, but not at a rate anywhere close to gas station sales.
For those concerned about inflation passing through from food and energy prices, this may be another sign it’s happening. And it may already be impacting spending on other goods and services.