Retail sales in the US increased last month despite cases of the Omicron Covid-19 variant and inflation, according to data from the National Retail Federation (NRF).

The figures, based on data from the US Census Bureau, revealed that overall retail sales during the month grew by 3.8% seasonally adjusted from December and were up by 13% year-over-year (YoY).

Retail sales in January, excluding sales at automobile dealers, gasoline stations and restaurants, increased by 4.7% seasonally adjusted from last month, representing an 8.5% unadjusted YoY increase.

During the month, sales in clothing and clothing accessory stores rose by 0.7% month-over-month seasonally adjusted and 19.1% unadjusted YoY.

Sales in grocery and beverage stores also increased 1.1% month-over-month on a seasonally adjusted basis, rising by 7.2% unadjusted YoY.

Online and other non-store sales increased by 14.5% from the previous month and grew by 8.9% unadjusted YoY.

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By GlobalData

NRF president and CEO Matthew Shay said: “January’s numbers show that 2022 is starting very strong for consumers and retailers, especially on the heels of a record holiday season and record sales in 2021.

“While the year ahead has challenges with inflationary pressures, labour shortages, Covid-19 impacts and uncertainty related to international tensions in Russia and China, today’s numbers show that despite these concerns, consumers are spending, and the economy remains in good shape.

“We are confident that retail sales growth and overall consumer financial health can continue, and current pressures in the economy should be moderated if election-year political pressures don’t result in policy decisions that compound the challenges our economy is already facing.”

Last month, the NRF reported that US retail sales over the Christmas period were better than expected, increasing by 13.4% from a year earlier but declining by 2.7% compared with November last year.