Many retailers have pointed to a persistent and severe winter for weak holiday and fourth-quarter sales. But according to the National Retail Federation (NRF), retail sales rebounded in February.
The NRF said that February retail sales, excluding automobiles, gas stations and restaurants, increased 0.2% adjusted month-to-month and 2.3% unadjusted year-over-year.
“Today’s positive retail sales report indicates that the economy is primed for growth,” said president and CEO Matthew Shay. “Retailers and consumers endured the harsh winter and they’re hoping both the natural and man-made obstacles to growth will leave with the snow.”
Shay went on to say that retailers are facing “serious” headwinds placed on them by policymakers in Washington who are pushing for new overtime mandates and a higher minimum wage. According to Shay, for the economy to fully recover, the administration and Congress need to “quit politicking and focus on growth and job creation.”
“Despite a long and cold winter, consumers continued to persevere and spend in February,” added chief economist Jack Kleinhenz. “This month’s retail sales data is encouraging and above expectations. However neither the jobs nor retail data reflect the fundamental health of the economy. While the weather continues to play tricks on economic forecasts and figures, we expect much-needed clarity come spring as consumers release pent-up demand.”
Additional NRF findings from the February retail sales report include the following:
- Building material and garden equipment and supplies dealers stores sales increased 0.3% seasonally-adjusted month-to-month and 3.2% unadjusted year-over-year.
- Clothing and clothing accessories stores sales increased 0.4% seasonally-adjusted month-to-month and 2.4% unadjusted year-over-year.
- Electronics and appliance stores sales decreased 0.2% seasonally-adjusted month-to-month and 2.3% unadjusted year-over-year.
- Furniture and home furnishing stores sales increased 0.4% seasonally-adjusted month-to-month and remained unchanged unadjusted year-over-year.
- General merchandise stores sales decreased 0.3% seasonally-adjusted month-to-month and 0.9% unadjusted year-over-year.
- Health and personal care stores sales increased 1.2% seasonally-adjusted month-to-month and 5.6% unadjusted year-over-year.
- Nonstore retailers sales increased 1.2% seasonally-adjusted month-to-month and 6.8% unadjusted year-over-year.
- Sporting goods, hobby, book and music stores sales increased 2.5% seasonally-adjusted month-to-month yet decreased 5.3% unadjusted year-over-year.