Retail sales in the US edged up slightly in January, indicating a “stable yet fragile” economy, according to the National Retail Federation (NRF).

NRF figures suggested retail sales in January rose 0.3%, seasonally adjusted, on December and were up 5.4%, unadjusted, on last year.

Meanwhile, US Census Bureau figures (which include fuel and food services) suggested a seasonally adjusted 0.1% increase on December to US$416.6bn and a 4.4% gain on last January.

Clothing and clothing accessories stores were up 5.9% year-on-year, non-adjusted, to $15.1bn; seasonally adjusted, sales increased 4.4% to $20.3bn.

“Today’s retail sales figures continue to indicate a stable yet fragile economy,” NRF president and CEO Matthew Shay said.

“Consumers are continuing to hold back on spending just as our economy is held back by political brinkmanship in DC.

“The failure to address the critical challenges confronting our economy will continue to dampen consumer confidence, which will in turn mute sales and growth.

“The economy will continue to limp along until our politicians finally address our tax and spending challenges and put forward a pro-growth, pro-jobs agenda.”