The year-over-year increase was dramatic, notes Naveen Jaggi, JLL President of Retail, who said that the much improved employment picture in the US played a large part in that.
Washington, DC, March 14, 2018-Advance estimates of U.S. retail and food services sales for February 2018 were $492.0 billion, a decrease of 0.1% from the previous month, but 4.0% above February 2017, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
Consumer spending, which accounts for two-thirds of USA economic activities, slowed down in the first two months of 2018 after a booming quarter at the end of 2017.More news: Europe, US senator push back as Trump seeks lower European Union tariffs
According to the Commerce Department, overall retail sales dropped 0.1% in February, which was because USA consumers spent less at gas stations, auto dealers and department stores. Gas sales were down 1.2 percent for the month, but up 7.9 percent for the year, since gas prices are generally higher now than a year ago.
Economists estimate the economy is growing at a roughly 2% pace in the first quarter, down slightly from the fourth quarter and below the roughly 3% pace registered in the middle of a year ago. "It's the year-over-year numbers that are more important", said Jack Kleinhenz, chief economist at the National Retail Federation. "People are in the process of renovating their homes". For the year, retail sales without cars were up 4.4 percent (and auto sales were up 2.3 percent). "So those categories are often correlated".
Last month's drop in sales largely reflected reduced spending on cars and gasoline.More news: Digging Up the Facts on United Parcel Service, Inc. (UPS)
Online and other non-store sales were up 10.5 percent year-over-year and up 1 percent over January seasonally adjusted.More news: Gupta companies lose bid to keep bank open