March 13, 2014

Retail sales up in February

March 14, 2014 – Retail sales went up 0.3 percent, month over month, in February, despite severe weather keeping many consumers at home.

NAFCU Senior Economist Curt Long analyzed data from the Census Bureau for a Macro Data Flash and found that the year-over-year growth in February was the slowest since 2009, just 1.5 percent.

"Severe weather continued to negatively impact retail sales and the positive gains in February followed downwardly revised January data," Long wrote. "Total retail sales growth has varied throughout the year as different segments led sales each month. Retail sales is expected to build some momentum throughout the year as the winter weather subsides and the economy strengthens."

Core retail sales – excluding light vehicles and gasoline – went up 0.3 percent in February, while auto and gas sales went up 0.2 percent. Sporting goods and hobby stores saw the most growth, with 2.5 percent, followed by non-store retailers, with 1.2 percent.

General merchandise stores had the biggest decrease in sales – dropping 0.3 percent – while electronics and appliances and food and beverage stores both dropped 0.2 percent.