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Early Easter to help boost retail sales in March
Mar '08
Concerned about the slowing economy, consumers held back on spending in February. According to the National Retail Federation, retail industry sales for February (which exclude automobiles, gas stations, and restaurants) rose 6.3 percent unadjusted over last year and were flat from January.

February retail sales released by the U.S. Commerce Department show total retail sales (which include non-general merchandise categories such as autos, gasoline stations and restaurants) decreased 0.6 percent seasonally adjusted from the previous month and increased 6.8 percent unadjusted year-over-year.

“While this month's numbers were disappointing, it is important to remember that February is typically a transitional month for the industry,” said NRF Chief Economist Rosalind Wells. “Retailers will look to an early Easter to help boost sales in March.”

Consumers were watching their purse strings as sales at electronic and appliance stores decreased 0.4 percent seasonally adjusted from last month and increased a modest 4.4 percent unadjusted from last year.

Furniture and home furnishings stores sales also decreased 0.4 percent seasonally adjusted from January and decreased 0.3 percent unadjusted from last year.

In spite of the tempered report, some retailers still managed to perform well. Clothing and clothing accessory stores sales increased 0.2 percent adjusted from last month and 6.7 percent unadjusted year-over-year, and sales at health and personal care stores increased 0.5 percent adjusted month-to-month and 9.0 percent unadjusted from last year.

National Retail Federation

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