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Hometrader talkRetail sales mixed: but watch the surging web traffic

Retail sales mixed: but watch the surging web traffic

Amid the excitement of better-than-expected December retail sales, the data was actually mixed. Most of the growth came from clothing (up 1.8 percent sequentially), internet sales (up 1.4 percent), food (up 0.5 percent), and healthcare (up 1.6 percent), which offset drops in electronics and furniture, and general merchandise (department stores).

As for the big question—namely, how much are stores losing to online—the answer is simple. Internet sales are growing.

Here's the bottom line: the government said retail sales for all of 2013 was $5.087 trillion, up 4.2 percent from 2012. Non-store retailers (internet sales) were at $450 billion, up 10.3 percent. Internet sales increased more than twice as fast as overall sales.

Of $431 billion in adjusted sales in December, non-store retail sales (internet sales) were 39.1 billion, which is 9.1 percent of total sales. In December of last year, it was 8.6 percent.

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