WASHINGTON-While February was an upbeat month for U.S. retailers as a whole, the furniture and home-furnishings sector registered a down month.
Sales at furniture and home-furnishings stores were off 0.8 percent from January and fell four percent from February of last year, totaling $7.4 billion on an adjusted basis, according to figures released this morning by the U.S. Census Bureau. U.S. retailers as a whole posted sales of $387.1 billion, up one percent from January and 8.9 percent from February 2010.
Also, sales at general-merchandise stores were $52 billion, 0.7 percent ahead of January and 2.6 percent greater than February 2010. Sales and department stores, excluding leased departments, rose one percent from January but were down 1.9 percent from February of last year, totaling $15.5 billion.
A statement from the National Retail Federation put a positive spin on the overall February results. “February retail sales are in sync with evidence of the expanding economy,” said Jack Kleinhenz, NRF’s chief economist. Kleinhenz also cautioned that it’s still too early to tell what effect the expected spike in gasoline prices this spring will have on consumers.