USA: Surprise drop in retail sales in December

( – Retail sales fell unexpectedly in December in the United States, as American households notably reduced their purchases of furniture and leisure items.

The Commerce Department said Friday that retail sales fell 1.9% last month, following a minimal 0.2% rise in November, the month of Thanksgiving and Black Friday.

Economists on average forecast an increase of 0.2%.

Retail sales statistics suggest that the rapid spread of the Omicron variant weighed on consumer spending at the end of the year.

Sales of furniture (-5.5%), electronic products (-2.9%), clothing (-3.1%) and sports and cultural items (-4.3%)
seem to have been particularly affected by this trend.

Over the whole of the 2021 financial year, retail sales increased by 19.3%.

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