U.S. retail sales beat estimates in February 2013, according to the National Retail Federation, which saw consumers quickly adjusting their spending in response to the increase in payroll taxes and higher gasoline prices. NRF said February retail sales (excluding automobiles, gas stations and restaurants) increased 0.7% seasonally adjusted from January and increased 0.5% unadjusted year-over-year.
Electronics and appliance stores' sales were down 0.2% seasonally adjusted month-to-month and were down 3.2% unadjusted year-over-year.
"Our consumer research consistently shows a cautious shopper that is making tough spending decisions based upon economic uncertainties, lower paychecks and higher prices for things such as gas," said NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay. "This is particularly true among those making $50,000 or less a year. While retail sales numbers indicate good momentum for the economy, consumers with less earning power may continue to face ongoing pressure and retail sales will encounter further challenges as sequestration takes full effect in March."
"Consumers, once again, exceeded economists' expectations and estimates in February," NRF Chief Economist Jack Kleinhenz said. "It may be too early to measure the impact of the payroll tax hike and higher gasoline prices on consumer spending. However, this portends a good, but not great, first quarter for retailers as consumers continue to breathe life into the economy."
to Daily News