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February Retail Sales Rise 4.6%, Online Sales Soar 54.7%: Key Takeaways

February Retail Sales Rise 4.6%, Online Sales Soar 54.7%: Key Takeaways

U.S. retail sales increased 4.6% year-over-year in February, according to the latest Mastercard (NYSE: MA) SpendingPulse report, with online sales up by a robust 54.7%.

The new data does not include automotive and gasoline sales and factors in 2020’s leap year, which added an extra day in February.

What Are People Buying? The Super Bowl helped boost grocery sales in February, with spending spiking by 30% in the three days ahead of Tom Brady’s latest victory.

This helped fuel the grocery sector’s 12.4% year-over-year increase for the month.

Valentine’s Day also helped open the cash registers: Jewelry spending was up 5.9% in stores and up 63.1% online year-over-year.

Yet the ongoing pandemic put a crimp on restaurant spending, which remained down — a 13.5% year-over-year decline — although it showed improvement from the previous two months.

The seasonally cooler weather in most of the country helped to raise spending on furniture and furnishings (up by 8.6%), while apparel sales saw a 47.3% increase in online sales but a 5.3% decline in the brick-and-mortar settings.

The abnormally harsh winter storms in the South during the week of Feb. 15 impacted regional sales, particularly in electricity-deprived Texas.

When the power was restored, the spending resumed, with 30% year-over-year increases recorded in Austin and Dallas.

What Does This Data Mean?: Although online shopping continues to clobber the brick-and-mortar competition, Mastercard predicts that both meteorological and health safety changes on the horizon might help get people off their browsers and into their local stores.

"While in-store sales decelerated slightly as a result of winter storms, consumers are continuing to show up online,” said Steve Sadove, Mastercard senior advisor. “From jewelry to apparel, e-commerce has opened doors for consumers to shop online while warmer days, widespread vaccinations and the loosening of restrictions appear on the horizon.”

Old School Cool: Joan Crawford grocery shopping in 1969. Photo courtesy Cinema Crazed.


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Posted-In: Apparel Sales e-commerce February retail sales furniture sales Grocery SalesNews Restaurants General Best of Benzinga

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