Retail sales bounce back in February as consumer spending rebounds

Retail sales rebounded in February after the previous month saw the steepest decline in nearly a year.

Retail sales rose 0.6% in February from the previous month Census Bureau data. Economists were expecting a 0.8% increase in spending, according to Bloomberg data. January retail sales previously posted a surprising 1.1% decline.

“The modest rebound in retail sales in February suggests that consumer spending growth has moderated in early 2024,” said Michael Pearce, vice president of U.S. economics at Oxford Economics.

February sales, excluding autos and gas, rose 0.3%, according to estimates.

Profits rose 2.2% in the building materials and garden equipment category. Sales at motor vehicle and parts dealers rose 1.6%, while electronics and appliance stores added 1.5%.

The test on consumers comes as the economy remains largely stable to start 2024. Consensus forecasts for economic growth rose in the first quarter, while the labor market continued to add more jobs than previously expected.

MIAMI, FLORIDA - MARCH 12: People shop at Kohl's Department Store on March 12, 2024 in Miami, Florida.  Shares of Kohl's fell after it reported a decline in same-store sales in the fourth quarter.  The company's annual sales and profit are forecast to fall short of market expectations, joining Macy's and Nordstrom in warning of a challenging year ahead for US department stores.  (Photo: Joe Radle/Getty Images)

MIAMI, FLORIDA – MARCH 12: People shop at Kohl's Department Store on March 12, 2024 in Miami, Florida. (Photo: Joe Radle/Getty Images) (Joe Radle via Getty Images)

Josh Shafer is a Yahoo Finance reporter. Follow him on X @_joshschafer.

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