The Washington Post

February retail sales rise, reversing winter trend

Shoppers ride escalators at the Atlantic Terminal Mall in the Brooklyn borough of New York.The U.S. Census Bureau is scheduled to release retail sales figures on March 13. (Craig Warga/Bloomberg)

There was a mix of good and bad news for retailers Thursday morning: Sales bounded back in February, but the winter drop was bigger than estimated, the government reported.

February retail sales rose 0.3 percent from the previous month, but January’s sales were revised down, according to a monthly report from the Commerce Department.

The uptick in sales is a boost to retailers, who faced a string of monthly sales declines because of the harsh winter, a weak holiday season and excessive discounts that hurt their profits.

January sales fell by 0.6 percent, down from the first estimate of 0.4 percent. As the weather worsened, economists said it was too soon to tell if the monthly drops were a sign of larger problems in the retail sector. But now analysts point to it as a weather-related blip.

Retail sales excluding automobiles rose 0.3 percent in February. Sales of furniture, clothing and department store goods rose, while electronics and appliances had a decrease.

Amrita Jayakumar covers national startups, small business issues and entrepreneurship.
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