The US Census Bureau will release the January Retail Sales report on Wednesday, February 15 at 13:30 GMT and as we get closer to the release time, here are the forecasts of economists and researchers of seven major banks regarding the upcoming data. 

Retail Sales in the US are expected to rise by 1.9% vs. -1.1% in December. Meanwhile, while sales ex-autos are expected at 0.8% vs. -1.1% in December. The so-called control group used for GDP calculations is expected at 0.8% MoM vs. -0.7% in December. 


“After the weak figures for November and December, there are signs of a countermovement. According to industry data, car sales have increased considerably. In addition, the renewed rise in gasoline prices is inflating nominal sales at service stations. Overall, we expect sales to increase by 1.3%.”

RBC Economics

“January US Retail Sales likely rose 1.9% from a 1.2% decline in December, thanks to an 18% surge in unit vehicle sales.”


“Car dealers likely contributed positively to the headline number, as auto sales surged during the month. Gasoline station receipts could have increased as well judging from a rise in pump prices. All told, headline sales could have jumped 2.1% in the month. Spending on items other than vehicles may have expanded a bit less, advancing 1.0%.”


“Retail sales likely bounced back in January, as gas prices climbed and unit auto sales surged, which likely added to an increase in restaurant spending as the weather improved in many areas. Total retail sales likely rose by a robust 1.6%. Sales could have looked less impressive but still healthy elsewhere, with the control group (ex. gasoline, autos, restaurants, and building materials) likely posting a 0.5% increase. That would represent only a partial rebound from December’s decline, as spending on discretionary goods could have been squeezed by higher gasoline prices and spending on services.” 


“US January Retail Sales – Citi: 2.4%, prior: -1.1%; Retail Sales ex Auto – Citi: 1.4%, prior: -1.1%; Retail Sales ex Auto, Gas – Citi: 1.2%, prior: -0.7%; Retail Sales Control Group – Citi: 1.0%, prior: -0.7%. We expect total retail sales to rebound strongly by 2.4% MoM in January and expect a 1% MoM increase in control group sales with broad-based strength.”


“Retail Sales are expected to have rebounded significantly in January at 2% MoM after December’s sharp contraction, with a surge in auto sales playing a significant role after consecutive declines in the final two months of 2022. Control group sales likely also jumped owing to a strong showing in online spending.”

Wells Fargo

“We expect to see glimmers of positive activity in the retail sales report for January. More muted inflation helps pump up real spending via higher real income growth. Real disposable personal income has risen for six consecutive months through December and is providing some support to consumers’ purchasing power. This appears to have somewhat manifested itself in a rebound in durables purchases. Separately released data showed January vehicle sales were at their highest monthly level since May 2021. That should considerably flatter the headline growth rate, and we forecast overall retail sales rose 1.7%. Base effects of two disappointing months in a row prior may also help boost other retail categories. Excluding autos, we expect sales rose 0.5%.”

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