Retail Sales Rise in February

NORTH AMERICA–February retail sales (excluding automobiles, gas stations and restaurants)increased 0.3 percent seasonally adjusted over January and 3.5 percent unadjusted year-over-year, according to the National Retail Federation.

April 5, 2018

Retail sales also increased 4.4 percent on a three-month moving average.


On a three-month moving average, retail sales have grown 4.4 percent compared to the same period last year. NRF’s numbers are based on data from the U.S. Census Bureau, which reported that overall February sales–including automobiles, gasoline and restaurants–were down 0.1 percent seasonally adjusted from January but up 4 percent year-over-year.

“Consumers are still in the driver’s seat,” says Jack Kleinhenz, chief economist, NRF. “Month-to-month comparisons don’t tell the whole story because of seasonal adjustment factors, but the three-month moving average and other year-over-year numbers are better indicators that reflect how sales are really increasing. It’s still too early to draw conclusions about the impact of tax cuts but extra money in shoppers’ pockets

should help as the year goes forward. With consumer confidence and employment growing, economic fundamentals are favorable for spending to expand in the coming months.”

Other highlights from the NRF’s report include:

  • Online and other non-store sales increased 1 percent over January and increased 10.5 percent unadjusted year-over-year.

    • Electronics and appliances stores’ sales were up 0.4 percent seasonally adjusted over February and decreased 4.3 percent adjusted year-over-year.

      • Clothing and accessories sales increased 0.4 percent seasonally adjusted and were up 5.2 percent year-over-year.

        • Sales at general merchandise stores were down 0.4 percent from January seasonally adjusted and increased 2.4 percent adjusted year-over-year.

          • Furniture and home furnishings stores decreased 0.8 percent from January adjusted, but increased 2.9 percent year-over-year.

            • Building materials and supplies stores sales increased 1.9 percent over January seasonally adjusted, but increased 5.1percent year-over-year.

              • Sporting goods stores saw a 2.2 percent increase from January and gains of 3.4 percent year-over-year.

                • Health and personal care stores decreased 0.4 percent over January  and increased of 0.3 percent year-over-year.

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