National Retail Federation Reports Core Retail Sales Grew in February Amid Strong Labor Market; Matthew Shay and Jack Kleinhenz Detail
WASHINGTON, DC - Although retail sales saw a slight dip in the month of February, a recent report from the National Retail Federation (NRF) show that core spending rose. This includes an increase in sales across grocery and beverage stores as well.
“February’s retail sales growth is not surprising given the strong growth we saw last month, continuing to reflect consumers’ ability and willingness to spend thoughtfully on household priorities,” NRF President and Chief Executive Officer Matthew Shay said. “While recent volatility in banking and financial markets is adding to economic uncertainty, the underlying fundamentals in the consumer economy remain on solid footing as jobs and wages are growing, and inflation is trending down. Retailers continue to find innovative ways to meet consumers with the right products, offer the best prices to help families stretch their dollars, and deliver great experiences.”
NRF’s calculation of retail sales, excluding automobile dealers, gas stations, and restaurants, showed February was up 0.5 percent from January and 6.5 percent unadjusted year over year. In January, sales had increased 2 percent month over month and 6.9 percent year over year. The organization’s numbers were 6 percent unadjusted year over year on a three-month moving average as of February.
February sales were up in all but one retail category on a yearly basis and increased in five out of nine categories on a monthly basis. Grocery and beverage stores were up 0.5 percent month over month, seasonally adjusted, and up 5.5 percent unadjusted year over year.
“Sales growth has slowed in recent months, but consumers’ economic health still looks good,” NRF Chief Economist Jack Kleinhenz said. “February is typically the slowest month of the year, so monthly fluctuations are expected. Sales are higher than last year, and that’s due in large part to the strong labor market, which means more income and spending. We are seeing a decent trend for retail sales growth built on the upward revisions to December and January sales. Nonetheless, seasonal adjustment factors the government is applying to the monthly data to account for irregular post-pandemic spending patterns make it difficult to accurately measure the strength of the consumer.”
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With inflation and other economic challenges affecting the retail sector, what will March hold? AndNowUKnow will keep you up to date.