Retail sales fell 1.9% in December compared to the previous month, suggesting that shoppers bought holiday gifts earlier last year as they faced rising inflation and supply chain issues.
Driving the news: The data is much lower than the 0% change predicted by economists, according to FactSet.Total sales for 2021 were up 19.3% from 2020, according to data from the U.S. Census Bureau out Friday.
The big picture: Expectations for shortages due to supply chain issues and the desire to avoid crowds amid a COVID surge may have pulled some holiday sales forward.Consumer prices jumped 0.5% in December, outstripping the rise in retail sales.
Between the lines: The numbers aren't adjusted for inflation, meaning sales decreased despite consumers buying fewer goods for more money.
Go deeper: Inflation hit 7% in December, its highest since 1982