U.S. retail sales rebound sharply

Americans went shopping with a vengeance in January. Retail sales rebounded sharply, rising for the first time in four months.

The Commerce Department reported Wednesday retail sales surged 5.3% last month. That was nearly five times what economists had forecast.

Consumers splurged on sporting goods and hobby-related products. That category as well as e-commerce sales, shot up 22%.

Fueling the purchases: additional pandemic relief money households got from the government. The nearly $900 billion coronavirus rescue package included $600 checks to mostly low-income and some middle-income Americans. That package also extended a weekly unemployment subsidy.

Expect further sales gains ahead. Households could get additional $1400 checks that’s part of President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion recovery plan that Congress is now considering. The massive fiscal stimulus is expected to fuel consumer spending this quarter and drive faster economic growth.