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Home Categories Help Push March Sales Beyond Expectations

Better-than-expected retail sales last month were propelled by seasonal home goods, furniture and apparel, according to the National Retailer Federation.

March retail industry sales – excluding automobiles, gas stations, and restaurants – rose 0.9% seasonally adjusted over February and 5.7% unadjusted year-over-year.

March retail sales released today by the U.S. Commerce Department show total retail sales – which include autos, gas stations and eateries – increased 1.6% seasonally adjusted over February and 10.0% unadjusted year-over-year.

“It's evident consumers were feeling much better about the economy and their finances last month,” said Rosalind Wells, chief economist for NRF. “Pent up demand combined with an early Easter and warm spring weather significantly boosted consumers' moods and retail sales.”

NRF said the biggest winners were stores selling apparel, home goods, outdoor equipment and furniture. Sales a furniture and home furnishings stores rose 1.5% seasonally adjusted to February and unadjusted 6.5% year-over-over.

The NRF did not find aggregate sales decreases in any of the major non-food categories.

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