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Financial News: U.S. Retail Sales Rebound In February But Fall

U.S. Retail Sales Rebound In February But Fall Short Of Estimates

03/14/2024 - 10:46:00 (RTTNews)

(RTTNews) - Retail sales in the U.S. rebounded in the month of February, according to a report released by the Commerce Department on Thursday, although the increase fell short of economist estimates.

The Commerce Department said retail sales climbed by 0.6 percent in February after slumping by a revised 1.1 percent in January.

Economists had expected retail sales to increase by 0.8 percent compared to the 0.8 percent decrease originally reported for the previous month.

"The consumer has a bit more capacity to spend but the consistent downward revisions should tell us the economy is slowing," said Jeffrey Roach, Chief Economist for LPL Financial.

"A helpful indicator to watch in the coming months is auto sales," he added. "If the economy is truly slowing, expect to see vehicle inventories swell and dealers offer more incentives."

Sales by motor vehicle and parts dealers led the rebound, surging by 1.6 percent in February after tumbling by 2.1 percent in January.

Excluding the jump in auto sales, retail sales rose by 0.3 percent in February after falling by 0.8 percent in January. Ex-auto sales were expected to rise by 0.5 percent.

The report showed sharp increases in sales by building material and garden equipment and supplies dealers and furniture and electronic and appliance stores as well as a notable rebound in sales by gas stations.

Meanwhile, sales by furniture and home furnishing stores saw a steep drop during the month, while sales by clothing and accessories stores and health and personal care stores saw further downside.

Core retail sales, which exclude automobiles, gasoline, building materials and food services, came in unchanged in February after falling by 0.3 percent in January.

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