Retail sales uneven in March

NRF: March sales decline on a monthly basis, but rise year over year

Washington – Sales at furniture and home furnishings stores slipped from February but rose on an annual basis.

March sales in the channel fell 0.3% month over month but increased 3.3% year-over-over, according to the National Retail Federation.

The overall sales picture was mixed. Retail sales in March increased 0.3% seasonally adjusted over February and 3.5% unadjusted year-over-year. The numbers exclude automobiles, gasoline stations and restaurants. Clothing and accessories and general merchandise retailers made slight gains. Declines were posted by building materials and supplies and sporting goods retailers. However, many segments posting monthly declines still grew year over year.

• Online and other non-store sales increased 0.6% over February and increased 11.4% unadjusted year-over-year.

• Sales at clothing and accessories stores increased 1% seasonally adjusted from February but decreased 2.5% unadjusted year-over-year.

• Sales at general merchandise stores increased 0.3% seasonally adjusted over February and remained even year-over-year.

• Electronics and appliances stores’ sales increased 2.6% seasonally adjusted over February but decreased 0.4% unadjusted year-over-year.

• Sales at building materials and supplies stores decreased 1.5% seasonally adjusted from February but increased 6.3% unadjusted year-over-year.

• Sporting goods stores’ sales decreased 0.8% seasonally adjusted from February and decreased 4.7% unadjusted year-over-year.

• Sales at health and personal care stores increased 0.1% seasonally adjusted over February and increased 5.3% unadjusted year-over-year.

“Various factors were at play in the first quarter, but we are again seeing a pattern similar to previous years — consumer spending was weak but is expected to pick up as we move through the year,” NRF chief economist Jack Kleinhenz said.

On a three-month moving average, retail sales have grown 2.8% year-over-year.

Home & Textiles Today Staff | News & Commentary

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