NRF Report Shows Disappointing February

Washington According to the National Retail Federation (NRF), retail industry sales for February (which exclude automobiles, gas stations, and restaurants) rose 6.3% unadjusted over last year and were flat from January.

February retail sales released today by the U.S. Commerce Department show total retail sales (which include non-general merchandise categories such as autos, gasoline stations and restaurants) decreased 0.6% seasonally adjusted from the previous month and increased 6.8% unadjusted year-over-year.

“While this month’s numbers were disappointing, it is important to remember that February is typically a transitional month for the industry,” said NRF chief economist Rosalind Wells. “Retailers will look to an early Easter to help boost sales in March.”

Consumers were watching their purse strings as sales at electronic and appliance stores decreased 0.4% seasonally adjusted from last month and increased a modest 4.4% unadjusted from last year. Furniture and home-furnishings store sales also decreased 0.4% seasonally adjusted from January and decreased 0.3% unadjusted from last year.

In spite of the tempered report, some retailers still managed to perform well. Clothing and clothing-accessory stores sales increased 0.2% adjusted from last month and 6.7% unadjusted year-over-year, and sales at health and personal-care stores increased 0.5% adjusted month-to-month and 9.0% unadjusted from last year.

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