The U.S. Census Bureau released the Advanced Monthly Sales Report showing a 1.9% decline in sales compared to November (seasonally adjusted). However, historical data reveal that December sales are often lower than November. Some categories for December were hit harder than others with a surprise uptick in home improvement of 0.9%. As Omicron swept through many U.S. markets in December, consumers continued to spend in the area of home improvement, a trend that many experts thought would reverse at the end of 2021. Retail sales minus automobiles and gasoline sales were down 2.5% from November.
Sales were down across most major categories
Department stores were down 7% coming off a decline in November of 5.5% from October. Apparel and accessories were down 3.1% coming off a positive trend of 1.2% in November (month-to-month comparison). Furniture and home was down 5.5% and electronics (a typically strong category for December) and