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BizReport : Ecommerce archives : March 19, 2012

February retail sales up - again

The job and housing markets may still be struggling but sales in the retail sector continue to rise. According to the latest numbers from the National Retail Federation, retail sales in February increased by 8%. That marks 20 consecutive months of growth, find researchers.

by Kristina Knight

NRF Chief Economist Jack Kleinhenz said, "There is no doubt that the economy is on the upswing, certainly compared to six months ago. Stronger-than-expected February sales and an improving labor market paint a bright picture of the U.S. economy, although the impact rising gas prices will have on the economy's momentum remains unclear."

Some interesting findings from the NRF include:

• Most categories - including books, garden equipment and sporting goods - saw increases of about 1% each
• Sales in department stores increased by 1.5% (seasonally, month to month)
• Year over year, building material, garden equipment and supplies dealer categories saw sales increases of more than 18%
• Apparel sales increased nearly 2%

"Though February is typically a month for consumers to stay home and wait for spring, shoppers this year took advantage of mild weather to get a head start on outdoor projects and warm-weather apparel," said NRF President and CEO Matthew R. Shay. "While February sales certainly present continued reason for optimism, retailers are paying close attention to rising gasoline prices, which are forcing millions of our customers to spend a significant portion of disposable income filling their gas tanks."

Total retail sales for the month increased 1.1% (month to month) and 10.3% year to year. The NRF forecasts sales will rise about 3% for the year, reaching $2.53 trillion during 2012.

Tags: ecommerce, ecommerce trends, National Retail Federation, retail sales, retail trends

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