What do December’s retail sales figures tell us about the strength of consumer spending? Looking back over the past 24 months retail sales averaged 4.1% annual growth compared to its 2.6% average. Sales were led by the auto sector, health/personal card stores and home furnishings. Department stores on the other hand showed -8.4% decreases. The 800 lbs gorilla driving retail sales the past year is nonstore retailers, i.e. (Amazon) which increased by 13.2%.