American consumers powered through the winter weather lifting retail sales in February.
February retail sales, which exclude automobiles, gas stations and restaurants, increased 0.2 percent adjusted month-to-month and 2.3 percent unadjusted year-over-year, according to the National Retail Federation.
“Despite a long and cold winter, consumers continued to persevere and spend in February,” says Jack Kleinhenz, chief economist, NRF. “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 to come in spring as consumers release pent-up demand.”
February retail sales released today by the U.S. Census Bureau, which include categories such as automobiles, gasoline stations and restaurants, increased 0.3 percent seasonally adjusted month-to-month ($472.2 billion) and increased 1.5 percent adjusted year-over-year.
“Today’s positive retail sales report indicates that the economy is primed for growth,” says Matthew Shay, president and chief executive officer, NRF. “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.”