February retail numbers up slightly from January
A full economic recovery is not yet underway, but data released recently by the United States Department of Commerce and the National Retail Federation (NRF) data indicate that consumers are slowly coming out of their bunkers, with both organizations reporting increases in February retail sales.
February retail sales, which include non-general merchandise like automobiles, gasoline and restaurants, at $355.5 billion were up 0.3% from January and up 3.9% year-over-year, according to the Department of Commerce. And total retail sales from December 2009 through February 2010 were up 4.5% year over year.
The NRF reported that February retail sales (which excluding automobiles, gas stations and restaurants) increased 1% seasonally adjusted over January and 1.7% unadjusted year-over-year.
“February could be the direct result of cabin fever with consumers eager to get some fresh air and enjoy a day of shopping,” said Rosalind Wells, chief economist for NRF. “We expect sales increases to continue but high unemployment and other economic factors will restrain consumers' ability to splurge on discretionary items.”