Feb Retail Sales were about in line across the board but Jan was revised up. Looking at core sales which take out autos, gasoline and building materials, they were up .5% after a 1.0% gain in Jan (revised up from .7%). Bottom line, sales over the past two months were good as the labor market improves but also weather was great in many parts of the country over the past few months so we’ll see over the next few months what was pulled forward as a result. Also, gasoline prices averaged $3.38 in Jan, $3.56 in Feb and month to date are averaging $3.77, thus the reaction from the consumer in the next few months will be highly watched. Within the report today, sales gains were broad based with only furniture seeing a decline. Very likely helped by the weather, building materials rose 1.4% m/o/m after a 1.4% gain in Jan and 3.2% in Dec.
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