Retail Sales Edge Up in February
March 13, 2014,
WASHINGTON-U.S. retail sales finished February with a gain of 0.3 percent over January and 1.5 percent ahead of February 2013, totaling $427.2 billion, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
Sales at furniture and home furnishings stores posted gains of 0.4 percent month over month and 0.3 percent year over year. General merchandise stores' sales declined 0.3 percent from January and 0.8 percent from February of last year. Sales at department stores (excluding leased departments) were up 0.7 percent from January but dropped 4.8 percent from February 2013. Sales at non-store retailers increased 1.2 percent from January and increased 6.3 percent from February.
Jack Kleinhenz, chief economist for the National Retail Federation, called the Census Bureau's data "encouraging and above expectations. Despite a long and cold winter, consumers continued to persevere and spend in February." Kleinhenz added that NRF expects consumers to "release pent-up demand" when spring arrives.