February retail sales see annual and sequential gains, reports Commerce and NRF

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Following mixed readings to start the year in January, United States February retail sales saw growth, according to data respectively issued today by the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Census Bureau and the National Retail Federation (NRF).

Commerce reported that February retail sales, at $700.7 billion, rose 0.6% compared to January and were up 1.5% annually. Total retail sales, from December through February, increased 2.1% annually.

February retail trade sales were up 0.6% over January and were up 0.8% annually. And non-store retailers, which includes e-commerce sales, headed up 1.6% annually, with food services and drinking places posting a 6.3% increase.

NRF reported that February’s core retail sales, which it bases on Census data and excludes automobile dealers, gasoline stations, and restaurants, saw a 0.2% seasonally-adjusted increase over January and a 5.5% annual increase on an unadjusted basis. It added that core retail sales headed up 3.3% unadjusted annually on a three-month moving average through January.

NRF also noted that the CNBC/NRF Retail Monitor, powered by Affinity Solutions, which was released on Tuesday, reported that February sales “showed continued momentum on the part of consumers,”  with core February retail sales were up 0.95% seasonally adjusted from January and up 6.69% unadjusted year over year. But it also observed that those numbers softened, however, to gains of 0.27% and 2.99% when adjusted for the leap year effect of the extra day in February this year. That compared with a decrease of 0.04% month over month and an increase of 3.24% year over year in January.

“Retail sales rebounded in a solid fashion in February, showing the consumer is still spending and pointing to underlying strength in the economy,” NRF Chief Economist Jack Kleinhenz said. “These results indicate that the economy is continuing to expand in the first quarter despite tight credit conditions and still-elevated inflation. Jobs gains, wage increases, and continued GDP growth are supporting household spending. Spending on services remains elevated while spending on goods has softened, but both sectors are still growing.”

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Jeff Berman, Group News Editor
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Jeff Berman is Group News Editor for Logistics Management, Modern Materials Handling, and Supply Chain Management Review. Jeff works and lives in Cape Elizabeth, Maine, where he covers all aspects of the supply chain, logistics, freight transportation, and materials handling sectors on a daily basis. Contact Jeff Berman

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