Retail sales rose in February, the government said Friday, surprising economists who expected a decline.
The Commerce Department said total retail sales edged up 0.3% to $355.5 billion last month. Economists surveyed by Briefing.com had anticipated that February sales would drop 0.2%.
February’s increase showed that Americans were still making it to the stores despite the snow and cold weather last month and customers were splurging on electronics for the Super Bowl, said Chris Donnelly, a senior executive at consulting firm Accenture.
February retail sales jumped 3.9% compared to the same month in 2009.
“This is consistent with the trend we’ve been seeing,” said Donnelly. “We’ve seen a gradual thaw in the consumer pocketbook, and there is pent up demand — we are certainly