Electronics and Appliances Boost February Retail Sales; March Consumer Sentiment Dips
March 12, 2010 - February's retail sales, which totaled in at $355.5 billion, stunned most economists with a 0.3% increase from prior monthly data. With several consumers splurging on gadgets for the Super Bowl, electronics and appliances saw a 3.7% increase from January's numbers. Even with the snow and cold weather, February's retail sales were up 3.9% from the same month in 2009.
Consumer spending largely accounts for nearly two thirds of all economic activity. The retail sales data, amongst several other monthly reports, generally gauge how well the economy is recovering.
Additional data for the day included March's consumer sentiment report, which saw a slight dip to 72.5 for the month. While consumer's opinions on the economy seem to be lightly wavering, the drop is expected to put some downward pressure on interest rates.