Mexican retail sales increased 4.4% in January 2012, compared to the same month a year earlier, according to the data released by the National Statistics Institute or Inegi.

According to the statistical agency, a spurt in spending at supermarkets and department stores has led to the growth of sales.

Sales of stationery items, leisure and other personal items, hardware, hardware store and glass, motor vehicles, parts, fuel and lubricants rose year-on-year (y-o-y) in January.

The annual increase in January sales was offset by decrease in textiles, clothing accessories and footwear sales.

Month-on-month, seasonally adjusted retail sales were up 0.87% in January from the previous month.

At the wholesale level, sales grew 4.6% in January from a year ago, but declined 0.6% from December 2011 in seasonally adjusted terms.

Recently released data from Mexican retail association Antad showed that same-store sales at its member establishments rose 6.2% on year in February, while total sales grew 13.2%.

Nomura analysts told Reuters that the jump, combined with Antad’s latest report showing a 6.2% year-on-year increase in same-store sales, point to a pick-up in domestic consumption.

"Though retail sales data are a highly volatile series … these data point to resilient domestic demand, which is becoming the main driver of economic growth.

"With the improvement in the external environment, especially in the U.S. growth outlook, we think Mexico should be able to grow at least by the potential rate of 3 percent," the analysts said.

Antad, whose members run more than 30,000 retail stores, including supermarkets and department stores, also noted that total sales in the first two months of this year totalled MXN158bn ($12.5bn).