NEW YORK (AP) — Americans, beset by lack of product choices, rising prices and the arrival of omicron, sharply cut their spending in December after a burst of early buying in the fall boosted this year’s holiday shopping season.
Retail sales fell a seasonally adjusted 1.9% in December from November when sales increased 0.3%, the U.S. Commerce Department said Friday. Sales rose 1.8% in October as shoppers, worried about product shortages, got a head start on their holiday buying. Still, retail sales surged 16.9% last month compared with December 2020, the Commerce Department said Friday. For all of 2021, sales spiked 19.3% compared with the previous year.
Spending declines were spread across numerous sectors. Department store sales fell 7%, restaurant sales slipped 0.8% and online sales fell 8.7% compared with the previous month, according to the report.