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Retail Sales Have Grown Sharply Over the Past Year

Retail sales surged in January

Vehicle sales rose 0.9 per cent in December from a year ago, and were down 11.9 per cent from November, according to figures released by the Department of Statistics (Singstat) on Wednesday (Feb 15).

Sales of electronics were up by 1.6% versus December while those of gasoline advanced 2.3%.

Retail sales of petrol service stations, food & beverages, wearing apparel & footwear, watches & jewellery and department stores also decreased between 0.3 per cent and 2.2 per cent during this period.

The gains point to continued economic growth.

While consumers pulled back on holiday shopping online in December, Americans spent more than expected at department stores, electronic and appliance stores, and clothing and sporting goods retailers in the new year, the report shows.

January's retail sales were 5.6 percent higher than in January 2016, stirring optimism in some economists.

When compared with the previous year, retail sales increased 0.4 per cent, mainly due to a jump in the medical goods and toiletries sector.

"Sales are growing at a decent clip, but the surge in consumers' confidence since the election is yet to translate into stronger spending", Ian Shepherdson, chief economist at Pantheon Macroeconomics, told the Associated Press.

A large help came from gasoline sales as prices continue to increase from the oil crash.

Excluding motor vehicles and parts total retail sales grew by 0.8% on the month in January. The greater spending likely reflects the improving job market.