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February US retail sales rise 8.7% year-over-year

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  The United States consumer spending, which measures in-store and online retail sales across all forms of payment, maintained positive momentum in February according to a recent report. Overall retail sales excluding auto increased 8.7 per cent year-over-year (YOY) and were up 17.3 per cent, compared pre-pandemic spending (2019), slightly above January growth levels.
  When looking across channels, in-store grew 10 per cent in February compared to the same month last year and 8 per cent verses (vs.) pre-pandemic as consumers resume in-person activity. E-commerce sales in February were up 4.4 per cent year-over-year and 85.9 per cent vs. pre-pandemic as the shift to digital remains a persistent yet slowing trend, the report by Mastercard SpendingPulse, multinational financial services corporation, stated.
  The elevated level of inflation is reflected in the February retail sales increases, other key trends include:
  Return to office attire: Apparel (+37.6 per cent YOY / +34.3 per cent pre-pandemic) and department store (+26.3 per cent YOY / +3.4 per cent pre-pandemic) growth rates remained elevated for the month as consumers prepare to return to physical offices, updating their wardrobes after nearly two years of working remotely.
  In-store growth rates rallied: As noted, in-store growth rates rallied through much of February, up 10 per cent compared to last year and 8 per cent vs. pre-pandemic. Contributing factors include the fact that heavy winter storm activity suppressed in-store sales in large portions of the US this month last year, as well as the fact that many Covid restrictions were removed this month.
  Home décor discounts: Department store furniture and furnishings sales spiked in February around the traditional President’s Day weekend, driving growth rates +10.8 per cent YOY and +17.9 per cent compared to pre-pandemic 2019 levels for the month.
  Restaurant resurgence: Restaurant sales (+39.4 per cent YOY / +24.2 per cent pre-pandemic) continued to outperform in February with growth rates in the 30-40 per cent range across most states.
  “Despite inflation, consumers are putting their record savings to work and expressing themselves through fashion again?much to the benefit of the apparel, department store, luxury and jewellery verticals, according to Mastercard SpendingPulse,” Steve Sadove, senior advisor for Mastercard and former CEO and chairman of Saks Incorporated, said.

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