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February Retail Sales Increased 2.7 Percent Over 2018

April 1, 2019

WASHINGTON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Apr 1, 2019--Retail sales were down 0.7 percent in February seasonally adjusted from January but up 2.7 percent unadjusted year-over-year as delays and revisions related to the government shutdown continued to make comparisons difficult, the National Retail Federation said today. The numbers exclude automobile dealers, gasoline stations and restaurants.

“The weaker-than-expected February retail sales numbers reflect colder weather and increased precipitation that kept shoppers home but were also skewed downward because of the government’s upward revision in January’s results,” NRF Chief Economist Jack Kleinhenz said. “The aftereffects of the erratic stock market, the government shutdown and slower tax refunds this year also likely played a role. It is important to look beyond the February figures and focus on the very significant revision to January retail sales, which shows that the consumer has not forsaken the economy as some previously claimed. We still expect growth to pick up, fueled by strong fundamentals like job and wage growth that are driving increased consumer spending. The consumer will continue to provide direction and strength to the U.S. economy in the months ahead.”

As of February, the three-month moving average was up 2.2 percent over the same period a year ago. February’s results build on improvement seen in January, which was up 1.9 percent monthly and 4.8 percent year-over-year, according to revised data released today. January had originally been reported as a 1.3 percent increase over December and up 3.6 percent year-over-year.

NRF’s numbers are based on data from the U.S. Census Bureau, which said today that overall February sales – including auto dealers, gas stations and restaurants – were down 0.2 percent seasonally adjusted from January but up 2.2 percent unadjusted year-over-year. The release of retail sales data for December, January and February has been delayed as the Bureau works through a backlog caused by the government shutdown earlier this year. Similarly, the Internal Revenue Service has been slow in issuing refund checks, which traditionally help drive spending in the early months of each year.

The results come as NRF is forecasting that retail sales during 2019 will increase between 3.8 percent and 4.4 percent to more than $3.8 trillion. The forecast is subject to revision as more data is released in the coming months.

Specifics from key retail sectors during February include:

About NRF

The National Retail Federation is the world’s largest retail trade association. Based in Washington, D.C., NRF represents discount and department stores, home goods and specialty stores, Main Street merchants, grocers, wholesalers, chain restaurants and internet retailers from the United States and more than 45 countries. Retail is the nation’s largest private-sector employer, supporting one in four U.S. jobs — 42 million working Americans. Contributing $2.6 trillion to annual GDP, retail is a daily barometer for the nation’s economy. NRF.com

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View source version on businesswire.com:https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20190401005634/en/

CONTACT: J. Craig Shearman (855) NRF-PRESS

press@nrf.com

KEYWORD: UNITED STATES NORTH AMERICA DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA

INDUSTRY KEYWORD: CONVENIENCE STORE DEPARTMENT STORES DISCOUNT/VARIETY ONLINE RETAIL HOME GOODS RETAIL COSMETICS FASHION FOOD/BEVERAGE SPECIALTY SUPERMARKET

SOURCE: National Retail Federation

Copyright Business Wire 2019.

PUB: 04/01/2019 11:43 AM/DISC: 04/01/2019 11:43 AM

http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20190401005634/en

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