U.S retail sales rise with the temperature
The Polar Vortex hasn’t been good for sales in the U.S, with numbers falling for two consecutive months. However, official figures from February show an upturn, indicating the U.S economy is gathering strength again.
This winter was the third-coldest on record, with plummeting temperatures and disastrous snowfall disrupting every state in the country. February’s rebound was aided by increased sales of building materials and garden equipment, a 0.3% rise brought on by the sudden demand for snow shovels and equipment.
Last month the US Commerce Department reported that sales had risen by 0.3% after a 0.6% decrease in January. This exceeded the predicted growth forecast of 0.2% and brought retail sales back onto a level with December sales.
As the weather continues to improve, sales are expected to be on a steady rise, helped by a small increase in wages, rising property values, and decreasing inflation. Household incomes have been bolstered as a result and disposable income is at its highest in five years.
The pick-up of sales hasn’t been an even transition, with some sectors continuing to suffer falling sales. However, this has been offset by improved sectors; for example, electronics and appliance stores felt a 0.2% drop in sales, but furniture and clothing store sales both individually raised by 0.4%.