Americans really got out there in February, opening wallets and throwing cash around without practically a care in the world. Not literally, but still, we did a really good job, as retails sales had their largest uptick in five months. Even the high price of gas didn’t keep us out of the stores.
According to Reuters, the Commerce Department reported we’ve been buying just about everything, to the tune of a 1.1% increase in total retail sales, up from January’s 0.6% gain. We had an extra exciting time buying motor vehicles, which is surprising as gas continues to rise in price.
Experts point to the improving labor market as part of the reason why consumers are still getting out to spend, despite the expense at the pump. However, if gas prices keep going up, things might stop being so rosy in retail.
Delightful weather around the nation has also helped get shoppers out at malls, adding to the retail gains, even as stores have been forced to offer big discounts to get rid of all that winter clothing no one really ended up needing much.