Sales at clothing stores were mixed in February

Sales at clothing stores were mixed in February

With the onset of warmer weather, US retail experts expect sales to rebound in the coming months, after extreme winter conditions deterred many consumers from shops in February.

According to the latest figures from the US Commerce Department, which includes cars, gasoline and restaurants, retail sales dropped 0.6% from January, but were up 1% above February 2014.

Sales at clothing and clothing accessories stores edged down 0.03% month-on-month, but grew 3.3% from February last year.

For general merchandise stores, sales were down 1.2% from January, but climbed 0.8% year-on-year. Department stores saw sales fall 1.4% month-on-month, and declined 2.4% from February a year ago.

At sporting goods, hobby, book and music stores sales increased 2.3% from January, and grew 3.5% year-on-year.

Separate data from the National Retail Federation (NRF) which excludes automobiles, gas stations and restaurants, found retail sales dropped 0.2% on a seasonally adjusted basis month-on-month, but rose 3% on an unadjusted year-on-year basis.

NRF chief economist Jack Kleinhenz blamed the weaker than expected retail sales on extreme winter weather. “While employment and wages have improved, consumers throttled back their spending in February, although they maintain the desire and the means to spend,” he said, adding: “With the onset of warmer, spring-like temperatures and an earlier Easter, consumers will likely shake off the winter blues and retail sales should rebound.”