U.S. retail sales edge up in February
(RTTNews) – After reporting a substantial rebound in U.S. retail sales the previous month, the Commerce Department released a report on Wednesday showing a modest increase in retail sales in the month of February.
The Commerce Department said retail sales rose 0.3% in February after rising 4.9% in January.
Economists had expected retail sales to rise 0.4% from the 3.8% peak initially reported for the previous month.
“U.S. retail sales returned to a modest pace in February after some Omicron-induced volatility and sharp seasonal adjustment noise earlier in the year,” said Lydia Boussour, chief U.S. economist at Oxford Economics.
The increase in retail sales was partly due to a 5.3% increase in gas station sales, which largely reflected higher prices at the pump.
Sales at bars and restaurants, sporting goods, hobby, musical instrument and book stores, clothing and accessories stores and miscellaneous retailers also saw notable growth.
Meanwhile, the report showed non-store retailer sales fell 3.7% in February after soaring 20.6% in January. Sales at health and personal care stores and furniture and home furnishings stores also fell.
Excluding a 0.8% increase in sales by motor vehicle and parts dealers, retail sales edged up 0.2% in February after surging 4.4% in January. Non-automotive sales should increase by 0.9%.
The report showed core retail sales, which exclude autos, gasoline, building materials and food services, fell 1.2% in February after rising 6.7% in January. .
“The current surge in non-discretionary inflation – particularly food, energy and housing – will put pressure on household budgets and lead them to reduce discretionary purchases, while supply chain issues will continue. limit sales growth,” Boussour said.
She added: “But robust labor income growth, record levels of household wealth and large excess savings worth 13% of GDP mean consumer spending is likely to remain buoyant in the months ahead. ”
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