NRF: Home furnishings category helped in March

Retail Editor 3, April 13, 2011

Washington D.C. - Home furnishings and furniture are among the product categories that benefitted from March's warm weather trends, spurring increases in retail sales for the ninth consecutive month.

According to the National Retail Federation, March retail industry sales - which exclude automobiles, gas stations, and restaurants - grew 0.6% seasonally adjusted from February and 3.9% unadjusted year-over-year.

With respect to furniture and home furnishing stores, sales increased 3.6% seasonally adjusted month-to-month and 3.8% unadjusted year-over-year.

"Shoppers last month were eager to take advantage of retailers' spring promotions on everything from apparel to outdoor furniture," said Matthew Shay, NRF president and ceo. "While current indicators point to a more confident consumer, increasing gas prices and a cramped job market could hamper consumer spending during the upcoming summer months, a key time of year for retailers."

March retail sales released today by the U.S. Commerce Department show total retail sales - which include the non-general merchandise categories NRF excludes from its figure - increased 0.4% seasonally adjusted over February and 7.3% unadjusted year-over-year.

"Improving financial situations including the temporary payroll tax cut, wage gains and a strengthening labor market likely supported March spending gains," said Jack Kleinhenz, NRF chief economist. "If gasoline prices can stabilize over the next few months, consumer spending may continue to grow, but it remains to be seen what consumers will cut out of their budgets because of the cost of filling up their tank."

 

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