Retail sales rose 7.4% in March from February, according to the National Retail Federation, which excludes automobile dealers, gasoline stations and restaurants from its count. That compares with a month-over-month decrease of 3.4% in February.
“Today’s data confirms reports that people are going out and spending and that in-store traffic has picked up,” said NRF chief economist Jack Kleinhenz. “After a disappointing February, there was a perfect alignment of factors supporting a surge in shopping in March. Further reopening of the economy was encouraged by economic stimulus payments, the public health situation improved with more vaccinations, employment grew and there was seasonal activity around Passover, Easter and spring break.”
Compared to March 2020, sales rose 17.7%. (The year-over-year comparisons were especially dramatic in some categories — clothing store sales jumped 104.6% — because many stores were ordered closed in mid-March last year because of the pandemic.) Sales increased on a month-over-month basis in nearly every category. Grocery stores – the only category to show a year-over-year decline – were among the few retailers allowed to remain open. Specifics from key retail sectors here… CSA