It’s the first time in the last 6 months when the retail sales posted are this low. This indicates a tempering of the consumer spending that’s been carrying the economy. Purchases rose 0.1 percent, after a 0.6 percent increase in the prior month that was stronger than previously reported. Just four of the 13 major retail categories saw gains in February sales.
Receipts dropped at electronics and appliances stores, apparel outlets and car dealers, a sign of more moderate consumption in the first quarter. While purchases may have been restrained by a temporary slowdown in individual tax refunds, robust confidence, healthy job growth and steady incomes may provide some fuel for a recovery in spending. Estimates for retail sales ranged from a 0.3 percent decrease to a 0.5 percent advance. The January reading was previously reported as a 0.4 percent rise.