NATIONAL NEWS

Retail sales fall 0.8% in January from December as shoppers take a break after strong holiday season

Feb 15, 2024, 5:44 AM

Shoppers peruse stacks of hoodies on display in a Costco warehouse Tuesday, Jan. 30, 2024, in Timna...

Shoppers peruse stacks of hoodies on display in a Costco warehouse Tuesday, Jan. 30, 2024, in Timnath, Colo. The Commerce Department releases U.S. retail sales data for January on Thursday, Feb. 15, 2024. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
Credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS

(AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

NEW YORK (AP) — Americans took a break from spending in January after the traditional holiday season splurge.

Retail sales fell 0.8% in January from the strong pace in December when they rose a revised 0.4%, according to the Commerce Department’s report on Thursday. Excluding sales at auto dealerships and gas stations, sales were down 0.5%.

Economists had expected Americans to pull back on spending late last year under the weight of credit card debt and diminished savings. Yet despite those challenges, along with higher borrowing costs and elevated prices, household spending continues to be fueled by a strong jobs market and rising wages.

There was another surprising burst of hiring to start off 2024 as employers added 353,000 jobs in January, more evidence that the highest interest rates in two decades, intended to slow the economy, have yet to take hold.

But shoppers appeared to be slowing down their spending in January.

Business at clothing and accessory stores was down 0.2%. Sales at building materials and supplier suppliers fell 4.1%, reflecting a still weak housing market. Online sales fell 0.8%. Business at restaurants were up 0.7%

National News

Associated Press

Several gun bills inspired by mass shooting are headed for final passage in Maine

AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) — A series of gun safety bills introduced after the deadliest shooting in Maine history appears to be headed toward final passage as the state Legislature races to wrap up its session this week. The House followed the Senate on Monday in approving the governor’s omnibus gun safety bill that strengthens the […]

21 minutes ago

Image: Former President Donald Trump speaks to the press in Manhattan state court in New York City ...

Associated Press

Trump’s hush money trial gets underway; 1st day ends without any jurors selected

The historic hush money trial of Donald Trump got underway Monday with the arduous process of selecting a jury to hear the case.

10 hours ago

Associated Press

Abu Ghraib detainee shares emotional testimony during trial against Virginia military contractor

ALEXANDRIA, Va. (AP) — A former detainee at the infamous Abu Ghraib prison described to jurors Monday the type of abuse that is reminiscent of the scandal that erupted there 20 years ago: beatings, being stripped naked and threatened with dogs, stress positions meant to induce exhaustion and pain. The testimony from Salah Al-Ejaili, a […]

10 hours ago

Associated Press

Judge orders psych evaluation for Illinois man charged in 4 killings

ROCKFORD, Ill. (AP) — A judge on Monday ordered a psychiatric evaluation for a northern Illinois man charged with killing four people and injuring seven others by stabbing, beating and driving over them. Winnebago County Judge Debra Schafer ordered the evaluation for Christian Soto when the 22-year-old man appeared in court by video link for […]

11 hours ago

Associated Press

Paris Hilton backs California bill to bring more transparency to youth treatment facilities

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — Paris Hilton joined California state lawmakers Monday to push for legislation aimed at cracking down on the industry that cares for troubled teens by requiring more transparency from youth treatment facilities. The bill supported by the Hilton Hotel heiress and media personality aims to pry open information on how short-term residential […]

14 hours ago

Associated Press

California officials sue Huntington Beach over voter ID law passed at polls

HUNTINGTON BEACH, Calif. (AP) — California officials on Monday sued Huntington Beach over a new law that lets the city require voters to provide identification to cast ballots at the polls starting in 2026. The state’s Attorney General Rob Bonta said the measure approved by voters in the Southern California city of nearly 200,000 people […]

14 hours ago

Retail sales fall 0.8% in January from December as shoppers take a break after strong holiday season