Washington - January retail sales at CE and appliance specialty stores slipped 0.3 percent year over year to $8.4 billion, the U.S. Commerce Dept. reported.
But last month's tally actually edged up 0.3 percent from December, the peak of the holiday selling season.
The totals, adjusted for calendar variations but not for price changes, lagged overall retail industry sales (excluding car dealers, gas stations and restaurants), which rose 3.5 percent unadjusted year over year.
Unadjusted CE and majap stores sales decreased 0.7 percent year over year.
"In spite of the economic uncertainties that still exist, consumers are clearly demonstrating their desire to spend on discretionary items once again," said Matthew Shay, president/CEO of the National Retail Federation (NRF), a trade group. "The industry is certainly benefitting from the renewed confidence we're seeing in shoppers, although sustained growth in 2011 will largely rely on improvement in key economic indicators like employment and housing."
Added NRF chief economist Jack Kleinhenz, "Many factors, including stock market gains, tax cuts, income growth and savings built up during the recession, are contributing to the recent spur in consumer spending. While some of what we saw in January is directly related to seasonal purchases, it's encouraging to see spending on other discretionary items, such as electronics, also increased."