February may have been frosty, but it warmed the hearts of America’s electronics and appliance retailers.
According to the latest monthly estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau, sales at CE and majap dealers rose 4.5 percent last month, to some $8.3 billion.
The specialty channel outpaced furniture stores, up 3.3 percent; general merchandise stores, up 2.4 percent; and even all of retail, up 4 percent including restaurants and auto dealers.
But tech and white-goods sales did remain flat from January, slipping 0.1 percent, and no one came close to matching last month’s gains online, with sales by e-tailers and other direct-to-consumer sellers rising 10.1 percent.
But according to Jack Kleinhenz, chief economist for the National Retail Federation (NRF), an industry trade group, the best is yet to come.
“Consumers are still in the driver’s seat,” he observed. “It’s still too early to draw conclusions about the impact of tax cuts, but extra money in shoppers’ pockets should help as the year goes forward. With consumer confidence and employment growing, economic fundamentals are favorable for spending to expand in the coming months.”