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The Census Bureau's Monthly Retail Trade Report showed sales for hardware stores -- NAICS code 44413 -- were $1.298 billion in January, the most recent month of available data in this business classification. That's down 22.9% from December's unadjusted figure of $1.683 billion.
But the rush on extra ice melt and shovels had a positive side: January sales were up 1.6% compared with January 2010.
The data was released Tuesday along with advanced monthly retail sales for February.