US Retail Sales Edged Up in February

Gain of 0.1% over January

March 15, 2017

Retail sales in the US rose just 0.1% in February, a reading that seems out of kilter with strong stock market performance and high consumer confidence.

The US Department of Commerce said sales reached $474.0 billion in February, compared with $473.6 billion in January. Year over year, sales increased 5.7%.

Among the stronger performers were digital shopping sites. Sales at “nonstore retailers,” which includes online sellers, were up 13% vs. February 2016.

Gasoline stations were the only other category to register double-digit gains year over year, rising 19.6%, reflecting gas prices that are roughly 20% higher than a year ago. Health and personal care stores saw a 7.0% gain.

Among the decliners in February were electronics and appliance stores, off 6.0% year over year, and department stores, down 5.6%.