Surprise! Retail Sales Up 1% in Jan.

Gas prices, food and clothing spending end 6-month drop
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Feb 12, 2009 8:42 AM CST
Shoppers on New York's Madison Ave. pass a clothing store promoting a sale of up to 90% off, Monday, Jan. 5, 2009.   (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)
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(Newser) – In an unexpected twist, US retail sales climbed slightly in January after falling for six straight months, Bloomberg reports. Retail sales rose 1% as gasoline prices increased and consumers spent more on food and clothing, despite forecasts that sales would fall 0.8%. But consumer spending is expected to fall as the year continues. In the grand scheme, such spending, making up some 70% of the economy, is “on the skids,” said an economist.