20th Month of Increased Retail Sales
Apr 3, 2012
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Estimated February 2012 retail sales at Electronics & Appliance stores were $8,088 million (unadjusted), according to the U.S. Census Bureau. That's up from $7,473 million in January 2012 and up from $7,887 million in February 2011.

Estimated February 2012 retail sales at Electronics & Appliance stores - adjusted for seasonal variation - were $8,257 million, up from $8,178 million in January 2012 and down slightly from $8,372 million in February 2011.

In terms of overall retail sales, February 2012 was the 20th consecutive month of sustained growth, with unseasonably warm temperatures and comparisons with weak sales in 2011 resulting in stronger-than-expected increases, according to the National Retail Federation. NRF said February retail industry sales (excluding automobiles, gas stations, and restaurants) increased 0.5% seasonally adjusted from January, and 8.6% unadjusted year-over-year.

NRF President and CEO Matthew R. Shay noted that February is often a month for consumers to stay home and await Spring, but the record-setting warm weather drove consumers to get started on outdoor projects.

NRF continues to forecast retail industry sales will rise 3.4% in 2012 to $2.53 trillion.

"Pent-up demand is turning desires into needs, which is one reason why consumers have begun opening up their wallets," NRF Chief Economist Jack Kleinhenz said. "There is no doubt that the economy is on the upswing, certainly compared to six months ago. Stronger-than-expected February sales and an improving labor market paint a bright picture of the U.S. economy, although the impact rising gas prices will have on the economy's momentum remains unclear."

Because homeowners took advantage of warm weather to work outside, February sales at building material, garden equipment and supplies dealers were up 1.4% seasonally adjusted month-to-month and 18.2% unadjusted year-over-year.

Department stores retail sales increased 1.5% seasonally adjusted month-to-month and 4.8% unadjusted year-over-year.

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