Washington - Retail sales of consumer electronics and major appliances in March rose 3.5 percent year over year to $8.8 billion, the U.S. Commerce Department reported.
The figures, which were adjusted for calendar shifts and are weighted toward Best Buy's results, also showed a 1.3 percent decline from February.
Total retail industry sales (excluding car dealerships, gas stations and restaurants) increased 0.9 percent seasonally adjusted over February and 5.7 percent unadjusted year over year.
"It's evident consumers were feeling much better about the economy and their finances last month," observed Rosalind Wells, chief economist for the National Retail Federation (NRF), an industry trade group. "Pent-up demand, combined with an early Easter and warm spring weather, significantly boosted consumers' moods and retail sales."