The Department of Commerce released numbers today showing U.S. retail and food services sales for December 2011 rose 0.1% from November to $400.6 billion. Sales were also 6.5% above December 2010.
Total sales for the 12 months of 2011 were up 7.7% from 2010. Total sales for the October through December 2011 period were up 7.0% from the same period a year ago.
The October to November 2011 percent change was revised upwards from +0.2% to +0.4%. Retail trade sales were virtually unchanged from November 2011 and 6.3% above last year.
Nonstore retailers sales were up 10.6% from December 2010 and gasoline stations sales were up 8.9% from last year.
Coming on the heels of strong numbers in employment, construction and manufacturing, these numbers give yet another signal of an economy begin to gather steam and expand.