WASHINGTON — Retail sales of
consumer electronics and major appliances
were just shy of $9 billion in February,
according to the U.S. Commerce
Department’s monthly tally.
Revenue at CE and majap stores rose
3.7 percent from January but decreased
1.6 percent year over year, seasonally adjusted.
By contrast, sales at furniture and
home-furnishings stores increased 0.7
percent over January and decreased 2.1
percent year over year.
Total retail sales, excluding car dealers,
gas stations and restaurants, increased 1.0
percent seasonally adjusted over January
and 1.7 percent unadjusted year over year.
Credit Suisse retail analyst Gary
Balter attributed the CE gains to a late
start for Super Bowl and improving underlying
trends, as comparable year-over-year
sales continue to increase each month.
The National Retail Federation
(NRF), a trade association, said last
month’s severe wintry weather may have
also aided retail sales. “February could be
the direct result of cabin fever with consumers
eager to get some fresh air and enjoy
a day of shopping,” noted NRF chief
economist Rosalind Wells.
Wells expects the sales gains to continue,
although “high unemployment and
other economic factors will restrain consumers’
ability to splurge on discretionary