Consumers increased retail spending in February by 1.1%, the fastest growth since September. February’s report also included an upward revision to January’s growth to 0.6%. Warm weather and job gains led consumers to maintain other purchases despite spending more on gasoline. Year-over-year growth accelerated to 6.5%, from an upwardly revised 6.3%.
Higher gasoline prices contributed to the growth in retail sales, with sales at gasoline stations rising 3.3% in February. Despite this gain consumers continued to grow spending in other areas as well, rather than cutting back. Clothing and building materials contributed to the growth, gaining 1.8% and 1.4% respectively. The only segment to see a significant drop was furniture and home furnishings, which dropped 1.2% in February, likely a correction from the 2.4% growth averaged over the previous two months.
Read the report.