U.S. retail sales rose slightly in January after a December. The recovery, however, was not seen strong enough to alter the course of a U.S. economy that was losing momentum in early 2019.
January’s increase in retail sales recouped only a fraction of December’s plunge, leaving expectations for a slowdown in consumer spending in the first quarter intact. Retail sales rose 0.2% as increased purchases of building materials and more discretionary spending offset the biggest decline in motor vehicle sales in five years. Data for December was revised to show sales dropping 1.6% instead of decreasing 1.2% as previously reported.