US retail sales slip but revisions likely

IN SPITE of a weak performance in December, US retail sales are starting to show signs of improvement as consumer confidence begins to return to the world’s largest economy.

Fresh data released yesterday showed sales falling 0.3 per cent last month, but this was compared to an upwardly-revised 1.8 per cent November figure and analysts expect December’s contraction to be revised higher in due course.

Societe Generale strategist Stephen Gallagher noted that many retailers had reported a strengthening of sales at the end of December, which may still induce further upward revisions to the government’s figures.

Annualised growth of around three per cent is still expected for the US?in the fourth quarter.