The advance monthly sales report to close out the year showed a decline of 1.9%, considerably worse than the Dow Jones estimate for just a 0.1% drop.
Excluding autos, sales fell 2.3%, a number that also fell well short of expectations for a 0.3% rise.
In addition to the weak December numbers, the November gain was revised down to 0.2% from the initially reported 0.3% increase.
Considering that the sales numbers are not adjusted for inflation, the data point to a slow ending to what had otherwise been a strong 2021 in which sales rose 16.9% from the pandemic-scarred 2020.
The consumer price index rose 0.5% for the month, bringing the year-over-year gain to 7%, the highest since June 1982. Wholesale price also rose, climbing 9.7% in the 12-month period for the biggest calendar-year rise since data was kept going back to 2010.
Online spending took the biggest hit as a share of overall spending, with nonstore retailers reporting a plunge of 8.7% for the month. Furniture and home furnishing sales declined 5.5% and sporting goods, music and book stores saw a 4.3% drop.
This is breaking news. Please check back here for updates.
Original news source Credit: www.cnbc.com