Retail sales rose 3.8 percent in January, the Commerce Department reported, a faster than expected (closer to 2 percent) rebound from a sharp decline 9revised to 2.5 percent) during the end of the 2021 holiday season. A very encouraging sign that despite 40-year inflation high, American consumers have not lost the will to shop.
Car dealers were among the big winners with a sales increase of 5.7 percent. E-commerce continues to surge with a 14.5 percent increase. Appliance and electronic sales were up 4.6 percent. Overall, 8 of the 13 retail categories grew in January with the US economy seeing $649.8 billion in sales. The auto rebound is good to see given the supply shortages the industry has been dealing with since the early days of the pandemic. Hopefully the markets for consumer and commercial vehicles begins to stabilize and people can resume leasing cars and logistics providers can begin to incorporate their new units into their fleet operations.
Unfortunately , January was not a strong month for restaurants and bars, the only services-oriented category listed in the report, fell 0.9 percent, likely reflecting the record surge in Covid-19. Though hopefully the February declines in Covid-19 cases, the lifting of many Covid restrictions, as well as big ticket events such as the Super Bowl and Valentine’s Day lead to a strong bounce back.
For restaurants and bars in New York City looking to make their voices heard, New York City Small Business Services (SBS) encourages food and beverage (F&B) small businesses owners to apply to join the F&B Small Business Roundtable. The roundtable provides a collaborative forum for F&B small business owners to express business challenges and discuss insights and solutions. Discussions help to inform work being done by the F&B IP team toward the development of resources, programs and initiatives aimed to strengthen local food and beverage businesses.