Last month, we examined the January sales numbers that were released by the Commerce Department. While the start of the month is typically a slow one because of the post holiday shopping handover, the reports were less than favorable showing a 0.6 percent drop.
While the National Retail Federation released a report shortly after that, saying the industry as a whole was set to experience growth over the next few years, the slow start to the year had some remaining skeptical. The latest numbers from February will have many changing their tune.
The Wall Street Journal recapped the Commerce Department report for February and found that after being adjusted seasonally, sales numbers increased 0.3 percent. That tops the 0.2 percent that was predicted by economists. This is also an increase of 1.5 percent over the same month in 2013.
Jim Baird, chief investment officer for Plante Moran Financial Advisors, chalked this rebound up to the abysmal weather that many American's had to deal with to start the month. Treacherous conditions made saving money for the essentials a priority and kept consumers out of stores. Now that this phase has passed, customers are loosening the purse strings.
Strong sales numbers are an important measure of the economy as this spending makes up more than two-thirds of the U.S. economic output.
If this is a sign of things to come, retail has rebounded from the slow start and has a bright 2014 in store. Merchants need to make sure they are ready to handle the increased traffic with the right point of sale credit card processing and software solutions.