Jan 14, 2022 - Economy & Business

Retail sales slipped a surprising 1.9% in December

Shoppers hold bags in San Francisco, California, U.S., on Wednesday, Dec. 22, 2021
Shoppers in San Francisco on Dec. 22. Photo: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Retail sales fell 1.9% in December compared to the previous month, suggesting that shoppers bought holiday gifts earlier last year as they faced rising inflation and supply chain issues.

Driving the news: The data is much lower than the 0% change predicted by economists, according to FactSet.

The big picture: Expectations for shortages due to supply chain issues and the desire to avoid crowds amid a COVID surge may have pulled some holiday sales forward.

  • Consumer prices jumped 0.5% in December, outstripping the rise in retail sales.

Between the lines: The numbers aren't adjusted for inflation, meaning sales decreased despite consumers buying goods for more money.

Go deeper: Inflation hit 7% in December, its highest since 1982

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