FILE - In this Jan. 22, 2020, file photo a person walks by a retail clothing store in Valley West Mall in West Des Moines, Iowa. On Friday, Feb. 14, the Commerce Department releases U.S. retail sales data for January. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, File)

US retail sales up a modest 0.3% in January

February 14, 2020 - 7:35 am

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. retail sales rose a modest 0.3% in January, a slight improvement over December, as unseasonably warm weather boosted sales at hardware stores and furniture stores.

The Commerce Department said Friday that the January advance followed a 0.2% rise in sales in December.

The slight January gain was in line with expectations. However, economists were also expecting to see a solid gain in an underlying control group of retail sales which feeds into the government’s calculations for overall economic growth.

Instead, sales in the control group showed no gain at all in January and the December performance was revised down to show a gain of just 0.2%, slower than the 0.5% rise initially reported.

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