Comment on U.S. Bureau of Census Retail Sales Report By Kathy Bostjancic, Director of Macroeconomic Analysis, The Conference Board - 13 WTHR Indianapolis

Comment on U.S. Bureau of Census Retail Sales Report By Kathy Bostjancic, Director of Macroeconomic Analysis, The Conference Board

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SOURCE The Conference Board

Shopping Paused this Winter, Will Pick Up this Spring

NEW YORK, March 13, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Consumer spending on retail sales rose a healthy 0.3 percent in February, despite widespread inclement weather. This good result essentially offsets the declines registered in January.  The core retail sales measure that excludes autos, building materials and gasoline also advanced a solid 0.3 percent supporting consumer spending in Q1. Online store sales rose a robust 1.2 percent, as shoppers turned to the internet given the inclement weather in the month. There is some lingering uncertainty about the strength of the labor market going forward – delivering more jobs and perhaps higher wages. There could be a further bounce this spring as some shoppers finally get out as warmer weather arrives. Still, the direction of the consumer market for the remainder of the year is more dependent on the strength of the labor market. The upscale market is and will continue to do fine. For the mid to lower-scale retail market, better weather could mean a little better sales record but sales are likely still to be constrained on the upside by sluggish wage gains.

About The Conference Board

The Conference Board is a global, independent business membership and research association working in the public interest. Our mission is unique: To provide the world's leading organizations with the practical knowledge they need to improve their performance and better serve society. The Conference Board is a non-advocacy, not-for-profit entity holding 501 (c) (3) tax-exempt status in the United States. www.conference-board.org

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