Cold Weather, Slow Housing Impact February Retail Sales
February retail sales (excluding automobiles, gas stations, and restaurants) increased 2.7 percent unadjusted over last year and declined 0.5 percent seasonally adjusted from January, according to the National Retail Federation.
According to figures released by the U.S. Commerce Department, total retail sales (which include non-general merchandise categories such as autos, gasoline stations and restaurants) increased 0.1 percent from January and increased 3.4 percent unadjusted year-over-year.
“Retailers continue to feel the backlash of the sluggish economy,” said NRF Chief Economist Rosalind Wells. “Winter weather and the slowing housing market put a dent in what could have been a solid February for many retailers.”
February retail sales saw mixed results across the board. The harsh winter weather around the country kept consumers home instead of in the stores. The obvious effect of cold weather and the slowing housing market also impacted building material and garden equipment and supplies stores whose February sales decreased 7.0 percent unadjusted over last year. Adjusted month-to-month sales in the same category decreased 1.4 percent.
NRF is still predicting 2007 sales to increase 4.8 percent over 2006.