The retail landscape has experienced some ups and downs over the last few months, but the numbers are pointing towards a strengthened economy. Now, according to an article from The New York Times, the latest retail numbers show that it is surging.

The Commerce Department released the sales figures from March this week. The 1.1 percent increase represents the largest such gain since September 2012. Receipts rose in nearly all categories.

According to Robert Dye, the chief economist at Comerica Bank, this all points to a predicted acceleration in the second quarter after the first quarter was hampered by severe weather. It shows that there is an underlying current of strength in the economy.

The article also mentioned that the when you combine the improved sales numbers with the most recent employment figures — job growth averaged 195,000 a month in February and March — solid momentum is being gained by the economy. The speculation is that this year could have the fastest growth since the recession.

"This is not a fragile economy," Chris Rupkey, chief financial economist at Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ, told the news source. "The linchpin of economic growth — the consumer — is back, and with the consumer's help, growth will be even faster in 2014."

With the confidence of the consumer coming back, many businesses could soon find themselves dealing with more customers than they are used to. This is the perfect time for merchants to consider upgrading their processes including the point of sale hardware and credit card payment software that can help improve operations.