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Retail sales growth in January could be promising for U.S. economy

February 15, 2012

According to analysts surveyed by Marketwatch, retail sales are predicted to surge forward in the month of January.

According to analysts surveyed by Marketwatch, retail sales are predicted to surge forward in the month of January. In fact, they expect that sales growth increased by 1 percent in the past month, marking the largest gain since September.

Advances of consumer spending, which accounts for 70 percent of the economy, can strengthen the retail industry, which might ultimately lead to job creation and a lowered unemployment rate. According the Marketwatch, this cycle could explain increased hiring in the past six months. In January, there were 243,000 new jobs compared to the 167,000 average from the past six months.

“The labor market will keep coming back and output will rise,” said Steven Leslie of the economic intelligence unit for Marketwatch. “They will gradually lift the other parts of the economy.” 

However, some reports that aren’t quite as optimistic suggest that there are still challenges to be faced. Ryan Sweet, an economist for Moody Analytics, predicts a much lower rate of 0.3 percent retail sales growth. Consumers used credit for a lot of spending in the past year, and increases could taper off as they repay that debt, Moody says. 

To prepare for positive growth in the first quarter, retail businesses can update credit card processing services by investing in a virtual credit card terminal that will allow consumers to conveniently pay whether they’re in a physical store or shopping online. 

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