Retail Sales Keep on Climbing in February

Mar 11, 2011, 10:21 ET from Retail Industry Leaders Association

ARLINGTON, Va., March 11, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- According to figures released today by the U.S. Department of Commerce, retail sales grew again in February by the most in four months spurred by an increase in job growth and good weather, noted the Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA).

Monthly retail sales figures for February were up 1.0 percent over December and 8.9 percent over February 2010. Retail sales excluding auto sales were up 0.7 percent over the previous month and 6.0 percent over February 2010.

A healthier labor market boosted spending as employers added 192,000 jobs in February, the most since last May. The Federal Reserve also credited the rise in jobs to increasing retail sales and growth in manufacturing.

While retail forecasts indicate that sales are likely to continue to improve as the year progresses, leading retailers are wary of increasing fuel  prices,  as well as an increased  cost of other raw materials such as cotton, and how that will affect shoppers.

"Retailers are encouraged by consistent growth and want to continue the trend of steady sales, but recognize that it's a marathon not a sprint," said RILA President Sandy Kennedy.

"While built-up demand and positive job growth will continue to boost industry sales, the recent dip in consumer confidence and climb in fuel prices are a concern," Kennedy continued.  "It remains to be seen how much of an affect it will have on spending and if it will hamper the recent progress the economy has made," Kennedy concluded. 

RILA is the trade association of the world's largest and most innovative retail companies. RILA members include more than 200 retailers, product manufacturers, and service suppliers, which together account for more than $1.5 trillion in annual sales, millions of American jobs and operate more than 100,000 stores, manufacturing facilities and distribution centers domestically and abroad.

SOURCE Retail Industry Leaders Association