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Retail sales rebound in February in sign of consumer spending resilience

Retail sales rebounded in February after seeing their steepest decline in nearly a year during the month prior.

Retail sales rose 0.6% in February from the previous month, according to Census Bureau data. Economists had expected a 0.8% increase in spending, according to Bloomberg data. January retail sales previously posted a surprise -1.1% decrease.

“The modest rebound in retail sales in February suggests that consumer spending growth slowed in early 2024,” Michael Pearce Oxford Economics deputy chief US Economist.

February sales, excluding auto and gas, increased by 0.3%, in line with estimates.

Building materials and garden equipment led the gains by category, rising 2.2%. Sales gained 1.6% at motor vehicle and parts dealers while electronics and appliance stores added 1.5%.

The check on the consumer comes as the economy has largely remained on solid footing to start 2024. Consensus projections for economic growth in the first quarter have moved higher while the labor market has continued to add more jobs than previously expected.

MIAMI, FLORIDA - MARCH 12: People shop in a Kohl's department store on March 12, 2024 in Miami, Florida. Shares of Kohl's fell as it posted a drop in same-store sales in the fourth quarter. The company's annual sales and profit are projected to be below market expectations, joining Macy's and Nordstrom to warn of a challenging year for U.S. department stores. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

MIAMI, FLORIDA – MARCH 12: People shop in a Kohl’s department store on March 12, 2024 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images) (Joe Raedle via Getty Images)

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

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