December Retail Numbers Show Americans Spend More Online - ABC FOX MONTANA NEWS, WEATHER, SPORTS - KTMF/KWYB

December Retail Numbers Show Americans Spend More Online

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MISSOULA -

Numbers released on how Americans spent their money last month show growth in retail sales from previous months, but the gains aren't evenly spread. Americans spent less money at traditional holiday retail and electronic stores, while internet sales jumped.

"December was boom. We could not be happier," said Owner and Sales Director of The Montana Chocolate Company, Robin Wright-Millerd. "People are savvy to what they want here, our locals brought products to ship to  people out of the state."

Wright-Millerd said her sales were split 50/50 between her retail store and her online shop, but online sales jumped compared to previous months.

"Our online sales probably quadrupled from other months, easily, probably more," she said.

Retail numbers for December show an overall increase in sales from previous months. They show more and more Americans are spending their money online, but not all retailers were as successful as The Montana Chocolate Company last month, with automobile and traditional holiday store sales taking a dive.

"It looks like America has finally sated their appetite for new cars, and the old trend of internet sales growing faster has come back with a vengeance," said Patrick Barkey, the director of UM's Bureau of Business and Economic Research.

Barkey said Americans are still spending money, but the patterns of what they buy are changing, because Americans are now prioritizing what they spend their money on.

"Americans are saving a bigger fraction of their income, so retail sales have been held in check somewhat," Barkey said.

He said retails numbers statewide are harder to track, since we have no sales tax in Montana.

"Without general sales tax, we don't have sales tax collections, which would, of course, tell you how much is being sold," Barkey said.

Barkey said, on a state level, the only way to determine if a retail store is successful, is to look at the number of people employed. When doing that, he said it appears sales in the state are growing, and he folks at The Montana Chocolate Company couldn't be happier.

"We were just thrilled with our results," Wright-Millerd said.

Numbers show Americans spent the most on food and beverage in December, with a total of more than $55 billion. They spent the least on electronics, with about $8 billion.

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