Washington, D.C. – February retail sales increased 0.3% seasonally adjusted over January and 4.4% year-over-year as the economy continued to grow, according to data from the National Retail Federation (NRF).
“Consumers are still in the driver’s seat,” said Jack Kleinhenz, NRF chief economist. “Month-to-month comparisons don’t tell the whole story because of seasonal adjustment factors, but the three-month moving average and other year-over-year numbers are better indicators that reflect how sales are really increasing. It’s still too early to draw conclusions about the impact of tax cuts but extra money in shoppers’ pockets should help as the year goes forward. With consumer confidence and employment growing, economic fundamentals are favorable for spending to expand in the coming months.”
The three-month moving average was also up 4.4% over the same period a year ago, and the results come as NRF is forecasting that 2018 retail sales will grow between 3.8-4.4% over 2017. The February numbers won back a slight monthly dip seen in January, which declined 0.2% from December coming off one of the best holiday seasons in years but was up 5.4% year-over-year.
NRF’s numbers are based on data from the U.S. Census Bureau, which said overall February sales – including automobiles, gasoline and restaurants – were down 0.1% seasonally adjusted from January but up 4% year-over-year. Building materials and garden supply stores were up 5.1% year-over-year and up 1.9% from January seasonally adjusted. Online and other non-store sales were up 10.5% year-over-year and up 1% over January seasonally adjusted. Furniture and home furnishings stores were up 2.9% year-over-year but down 0.8% from January seasonally adjusted.
For more information, visit nrf.com.