Retail sales on a roll in February, up 8.6%

Retail Editor 1, Gerri Hunt, March 13, 2012

Washington - Retail sales in February grew year-over-year for the 20th straight month, according to the National Retail Federation.
NRF said retail sales - excluding automobiles, gas stations and restaurants - rose 0.5% last month adjusted from January and 8.6% unadjusted compared to February 2011.
The U.S. Department of Commerce reported February sales including the categories omitted by NRF were the strongest they've been in five months: up 1.1% adjusted month-to-month and 10.3% unadjusted year-over-year.
"Though February is typically a month for consumers to stay home and wait for spring, shoppers this year took advantage of mild weather to get a head start on outdoor projects and warm-weather apparel," NRF president and ceo Matthew R. Shay said. "While February sales certainly present continued reason for optimism, retailers are paying close attention to rising gasoline prices, which are forcing millions of our customers to spend a significant portion of disposable income filling their gas tanks."

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