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Warmer Weather Pushes Retail Sales Up in March

March retail sales, which exclude automobiles, gas stations and restaurants, increased 0.8 percent adjusted month-to-month, according to the National Retail Federation.

It was also a positive month for the home improvement sector: building material and garden equipment and supplies dealers stores’ sales increased 1.8 percent seasonally adjusted month-to-month and 6.2 percent unadjusted year-over-year.

“Consumers shed their winter coats last month for fresh, spring merchandise,” NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay said. “Retail sales increased in most categories and sectors as consumers took to stores to purchase new spring attire and home furnishings in hopeful expectation of warmer weather. Sales should continue to remain positive this spring with the approach of Easter and expected tax refunds.”

March retail sales, released recently by the U.S. Census Bureau, which include categories such as automobiles, gasoline stations and restaurants, increased 1.1 percent seasonally adjusted month-to-month ($433.9 billion). The Census also reported that retail sales increased 3.8 percent adjusted year-over-year.

“Improving economic conditions and consumer confidence should push consumers to return to spending habits this spring,” NRF Chief Economist Jack Kleinhenz said. “Consumers released some pent-up demand in March after two consecutive months of harsh winter weather that not only hampered employment opportunities but also retail sales. We remain optimistic that retail sales will continue their positive march this spring.”

About Amanda Bell

Amanda Bell was an assistant editor of Hardware Retailing and NRHA. Amanda regularly visited with home improvement retailers across the country and attended industry events and seminars. She earned a degree in magazine journalism from Ball State University and has received honors for her work for Hardware Retailing from the Association of Marketing and Communication Professionals.

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