Washington - January retail sales of consumer electronics and major appliances fell 7 percent year over year to $8.5 billion, the U.S. Commerce Department reported, but rose 1.2 percent from December.
The figures are adjusted for seasonal variations and holiday and trading-day differences, but not for price changes.
Unadjusted data told a different story, with sales down 7.6 percent from January 2009 and off by 41 percent from December.
Total unadjusted U.S. retail sales (excluding car dealerships, gas stations and restaurants) were up 3.6 percent in January from a year ago, but fell 22.5 percent from December, the Commerce Department said. Seasonally adjusted, total retail sales rose 0.5 percent from January 2009 and 5.3 percent from December.
"We continue to see the economy show subtle signs of improvement," observed Rosalind Wells, chief economist for the National Retail Federation (NRF), a trade association. "While the recovery still has a long way to go, we remain encouraged by the latest retail sales figures."