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U.S. Retail Sales Inch Up 0.1% In February, Matching Estimates

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Retail sales in the U.S. saw a modest increase in the month of February, according to a report released by the Commerce Department on Wednesday, with the uptick in sales matching economist estimates.

The Commerce Department said retail sales inched up by 0.1 percent in February after climbing by an upwardly revised 0.6 percent in January.

Economists had expected sales to creep up by 0.1 percent compared to the 0.4 percent increase originally reported for the previous month.

The uptick in retail sales was partly due to a 1.8 percent jump in sales by building material and supplies dealers. Sales by non-store retailers also surged up by 1.2 percent.

On the other hand, the report said sales by motor vehicles and parts dealers edged down by 0.2 percent in February after slumping by 1.3 percent in January.

Excluding the modest drop in auto sales, retail sales rose by 0.2 percent in February after jumping by 1.2 percent in January. The increase in ex-auto sales also matched estimates.

Closely watched core retail sales, which exclude autos, gasoline, building materials and food service, inched up by 0.1 percent in February following an upwardly revised 0.8 percent increase in January.

Paul Ashworth, Chief U.S. Economist at Capital Economics, said, "The upshot is that these figures should prompt a round of modest upward revisions to first-quarter GDP growth."

The Commerce Department said total retail sales in February were up by 5.7 percent compared to the same month a year ago.

by RTT Staff Writer

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