© Reuters. U.S. Retail Sales Slide Sharply as Inflation Weighs on Consumers
(Bloomberg) — U.S. retail sales slumped in December by the most in 10 months, suggesting the fastest inflation in decades is taking a greater toll on consumers just as the nation confronts more coronavirus infections.
The value of overall purchases decreased 1.9%, after a revised 0.2% gain a month earlier, Commerce Department figures showed Friday. The figures aren’t adjusted for inflation, suggesting price-adjusted receipts were even weaker than the headline number.
The median estimate in a Bloomberg survey called for a 0.1% drop in overall retail sales from the prior month.
The year-end slide in retail purchases sets up for a tepid handoff to the first quarter. Combined with the impact from the omicron variant, which is denting outlays for services such as travel and dining out, the figures help explain why economists project household spending to soften.
Furthermore, falling price-adjusted wages, dwindling savings and the end of the government’s pandemic-related financial programs suggest a more moderate pace of spending.
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