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US retail sales increase in February ’24; clothing, jewelry advances 0.51% from January

US retail sales increased in February as household incomes and spending on services rose.Revenue grew 0.6% from the month before to $700.7 billion — adjusted for seasonal variation — compared with a decrease of 1.1% in January, according to data the US Census Bureau released last week. However, much of the increase is due to a weak comparison base the previous month when spending softened following the holiday season and inclement weather deterred people from spending.

February sales were up year on year in eight of the nine retail categories the NRF monitors. Sales in the clothing and accessories segment — which includes jewelry — advanced 0.51% from January and 8% compared to the same period a year ago. Online sales saw the largest year-on-year gain, climbing 19%, while the furniture and home furnishings division fell 1.6% from February 2023.

“Retail sales rebounded in a solid fashion in February, showing the consumer is still spending and pointing to underlying strength in the economy,” sad National Retail Federation (NRF) chief economic Jack Kleinhenz. “These results indicate that the economy is continuing to expand in the first quarter despite tight credit conditions and still-elevated inflation. Job gains, wage increases, and continued GDP [gross domestic product] growth are supporting household spending. Spending on services remains elevated while spending on goods has softened, but both sectors are still growing.”

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