Sales Up Slightly in February


Retail sales beat estimates in February as consumers adjusted their spending in response to an increase in payroll taxes and higher gasoline prices, according to the National Retail Federation.

February retail sales (excluding non-general merchandise categories such as automobiles, gas stations and restaurants) increased 0.7 percent seasonally adjusted from January and increased 0.5 percent unadjusted year-over-year.

February retail sales released Wednesday by the U.S. Department of Commerce also showed that retail and food services sales (which include non-general merchandise categories) increased 1.1 percent seasonally adjusted month-to-month and 4.6 percent adjusted year-over-year.