Retail sales increased 0.6% in December

There were $709.9 billion in retail and food service sales in December, up 0.6% from the previous month and up 5.6% from the prior year, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

Core retail sales—excluding automobiles and gasoline—increased 0.6% over the month and 5.8% for the year.

Retail trade sales were up 0.6% from November, and up 4.8% year-over-year. Sales at food services & drinking places were up 11.1% from the past year, while sales at electronics & appliance stores increased 10.7%. Sales at health & personal care stores and motor vehicle & parts dealers were up 10.7% and 10.3% respectively, from year-ago levels. There were declines in sales at Furniture & home furnishing stores (-4.7%) and Department stores (-2.7%) from prior year levels.

Sales at gasoline stations decreased 1.3% in December, following a 3.4% decline in November. Gasoline station sales remain 6.6% below year-ago levels.

Read the Census release.