Advance seasonally adjusted estimates of U.S. retail and food services sales for February were $355.5 billion, an increase of 0.3 percent from the previous month and 3.9 percent above February 2009, the U.S. Census Bureau announced Friday.
Total sales for the December 2009 through February 2010 period were up 4.5 percent from the same period a year ago. The December 2009 to January 2010 percent increase was revised from 0.5 percent to 0.1 percent.
Retail trade sales were up 0.3 percent from January 2010 and 4.4 percent above last year. Gasoline stations sales were up 24 percent from February 2009 and non-store retailers sales, mostly online, were up 11.8 percent from last year, the Census Bureau said.
According to the National Retail Federation, February retail industry sales (which exclude automobiles, gas stations, and restaurants) increased 1 percent seasonally adjusted over January and 1.7 percent 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.”
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