Alan Wolf On Feb 25 2013 - 1:00am

CE/Majap Retail Sales Rose In January


WASHINGTON — Sales at CE and appliance stores rose 1.3 percent in January to an estimated $8.4 billion, the U.S. Commerce Department reported.

In contrast, sales edged up just 0.2 percent from December, the agency said.

The increase may reflect the impact of last month’s Super Bowl, which was the third-largest sales period for TVs in 2012, according to The NPD Group.

By comparison, January sales at furniture and home-furnishings stores rose 3.2 percent year over year; sales for e-tailers and other direct-sellers increased 15.7 percent; and total retail sales, excluding restaurants and auto dealers, were up by a projected 4.1 percent.

The figures were adjusted for seasonal variation and holiday and trading day differences, but not for price changes, the Commerce Department said. Unadjusted January sales for CE and majap dealers rose 2.7 percent year over year.

Commenting on the sales estimates, Jack Kleinhenz, chief economist for the National Retail Federation (NRF), an industry trade group, said, “Consumers seem a bit more confident these days” as stocks, home prices and employment continue to rise. “Consumers seem to have adjusted accordingly to rising taxes and energy prices” as well, he said, although consumer confidence remains “shaky.”

The NRF is projecting a 3.4 percent increase in total retail sales this year, and believes online sales will grow between 9 percent and 12 percent.

Separately, ShopperTrak, which measures retail foot traffic, estimates that Valentine’s and Presidents Day promotions and an early Easter will help push first-quarter brick-and-mortar sales up 3.2 percent on a 3.5 percent increase in store visits.

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