Snow storm influenced Feb Retail Sales weren’t hurt by the snow storms as headline sales rose .3% vs an expected drop of .2%. Ex autos, sales rose .8% vs an expected gain of .1% and taking out gasoline sales in addition to autos saw a gain of .9% vs the forecast of up .3%. Jan headline sales were revised down by .4 of a % pt so taken with Feb makes the headline figure about in line with forecasts but ex auto’s the revision lower was only .1%. Sales of motor vehicles/parts fell for a 3rd month, by 2% and health/personal care sales were down but were both offset by a rise in every other category with electronics in particular up 3.7%. Feb is a clearance month and is thus usually shrugged off but the data is a clear positive pulse of consumer spending in light of the snow storms which I guess resulted in more people going to the mall.
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