Retail sales adjusted for seasonal variation but not for price changes were up 3.8% month-over-month in January and 13% year-over-year, according to the US Census Bureau. The Dow Jones estimate had been a 2.1% rise.
Particularly strong spikes were seen in gasoline station sales up 33.4% year-over-year and sales in food services and drinking place up 27%. Both these sectors have suffered from high inflation with gasoline prices rising 40% year-over-year in January and food away from home 6.4%.
Because the retail sales number are not adjusted for inflation retail sales growth does not necessarily to increased real spending, as people buy less goods at higher prices due to inflation.
According to Capital Economics, as reported in CNBC, real spending increased at a 3.3% annualized rate from October 2021 through January 2022, but when adjusted for inflation real spending actually declined at a 6.8% rate.