The National Retail Federation (NRF) has revealed that US retail sales increased ‘sharply’ in January despite the pandemic.

NRF chief economist Jack Kleinhenz revealed that retail spending could increase due to the latest round of stimulus checks and better Covid trends.

The figures derive from data from the US Census Bureau. It showed that overall retail sales in January increased by 5.3% seasonally adjusted from December. The figure is up 7.4% year-over-year (YoY).

During the month, online and other non-store sales grew 11% month-over-month and 22.1% unadjusted YoY.

Additionally, grocery and beverage stores increased by 2.4% from December and up 11.6% unadjusted YoY.

The data also revealed that sporting goods stores rose 8% month-over-month seasonally adjusted and 22% unadjusted YoY.

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Electronics and appliance stores rose by 14.7% from last month but down 4.1% unadjusted (YoY).

NRF president and CEO Matthew Shay said: “January’s retail sales numbers reflect a very strong start for consumers and retailers as we look ahead to a critical year curbing the global pandemic and strengthening our economic recovery.

“Consumers and the economy as a whole remain in good shape despite unprecedented adversity over the past year, and congressional action has been a lifeline for households and businesses disproportionately impacted by the pandemic.

“We’ve convened retail leaders and communicated directly with the White House that it is critically important for the government to work with retailers to get the vaccine into communities and administered as quickly and as safely as possible.”