Strong Start to 2022
Original release date: February 16, 2022
Despite the omicron variant spike in mid-January, US retail has once again proven its resilience in January as All Stores grew by 12.3%. All Stores Less Automotive grew by 10.6%, while All Stores Less Automotive, Food, Pharmacies grew by 11.8%.
Apart from the gas price-driven gains of Gasoline Stations (32.7%), Food Services and Drinking Places saw the most growth in January, jumping up 24.9% year-over-year. The category also added over 100,000 new jobs in January, indicating good things for the category to come. The inflation in food prices also drove growth in Food and Beverage Stores (7.2% year-over-year).
Clothing and Accessories Stores continues its success story after being hit hard by the pandemic by growing 19.1% over January last year. While this is still excellent growth, January 2021 was particularly weak as store closures led to deep discounts in the category. Once the work-from-home trend slows, this category could see some major growth.
Electronics and Appliance Stores was hit hardest this month as the chip shortage continues. Even after manufacturing bounces back, this category has a long road ahead as one uniquely suited for almost 100% online shopping.
Sporting Goods, Hobby, Musical Instrument, and Book Stores also dropped slightly at -0.8%, likely a result of its strong performance during peak pandemic. The category’s major sellers during the pandemic, such as home gym equipment, are not typically repeated purchases, especially as gyms reopen.
The outlook for the rest of the year is tentatively hopeful. With new cases falling and January’s strong showing, 2022 could be everything 2021 was meant to be. Will February drop the ball?