Retail sales December 2023:

Retail sales December 2023:

Holiday shopping turned out even better than expected in December as shoppers picked up the pace to close out a strong 2023, the Commerce Department reported Wednesday.

Retail sales increased 0.6% for the month, buoyed by a pickup in clothing and accessory stores as well as online non-store businesses. The results were better than the 0.4% Dow Jones estimate.

Excluding autos, sales rose 0.4%, which also topped the 0.2% estimate.

The report comes amid speculation about how much strength the U.S. economy possessed heading into the new year, when growth is expected to slow. However, a resilient consumer could signal more momentum and possibly give the Federal Reserve some caution about how to proceed on interest rates.

On a year-over-year basis, retail sales ended the year up 5.6%. The numbers are not adjusted for inflation, so sales show that consumers are more than keeping up with an inflation rate of 3.4% as measured by the consumer price index. The CPI increased 0.3% in December, also lower than the retail sales increase.

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