Economy

February furniture store sales lag broad retail sector

February furniture store sales lag broad retail sector

Though February sales disappointed, IHL said there's still reason to think retail will rally next month, as "tax refunds are coming in later in the refund season, suggesting March retail sales could see a boost from this source", Navin said. Gasoline stations sales were up by 7.9%.

The US Census Bureau revealed that total sales were down 0.1% month-on-month when they had been expected to improve 0.3%, while retail sales for January were revised higher to show a smaller decline of 0.1% from the 0.3% reported initially. General merchandise stores saw a 0.4 percent decline in receipts, the most since May, following a similar advance in January.

Consumer spending, which accounts for more than two-thirds of United States economic activity, appears to have slowed at the start of the year after accelerating at a 3.8 per cent annualised rate in the fourth quarter.

United States producer prices meanwhile increased slightly more than expected in February as a rise in the cost of services offset a decline in the price of goods.

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Each retail sales estimate is based on a subsample of roughly 4,700 retail and food services firms, and the sales figures are weighted and benchmarked to represent the complete universe of over 3 million retail and food services firms. He noted that much of the decline was at auto dealers, which had been booking sales growth as people replaced vehicles damaged past year by hurricanes Harvey and Irma.

Electronics and appliance stores were up 4.3 percent year-over-year but down 0.1 percent from January seasonally adjusted. The increase in underlying wholesale prices supports views that consumer inflation will pick up this year.

Economists estimate the economy is growing at a roughly 2% pace in the first quarter, down slightly from the fourth quarter and below the roughly 3% pace registered in the middle of past year. The economy created 313,000 jobs in February.

The year-over-year February increase for furniture was around the middle of the pack among all sectors followed by the government. But there were some pockets of strength. Economists polled by Reuters had forecast the PPI gaining 0.1 per cent last month and increasing 2.8 per cent from a year ago. It was the fifth greatest increase by sector, behind non-store retailers, gas stations, miscellaneous store retailers and building materials and garden equipment and supplies stores. Meanwhile, sales rose at stores that sell building materials, on retail websites, and at restaurants and bars.