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Jan. CE/Majap Store Sales Flat: Feds

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

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.”