US retail spending up 1.1% in February

14 March 2013

Increased levels of confidence among consumers led to US retail spending rising markedly last month, new official data has revealed.

Figures published yesterday (13 March) by the Department of Commerce showed that spending climbed by 1.1 per cent in February when compared to January, with the primary driving factor behind this biggest hike in five months being the nationwide rise in petrol prices.

This number also represents a 4.6 per cent improvement on the corresponding month in 2012 and the upward movement was also helped by increased spending on other goods, such as clothing, cars and furniture.

Chris Williamson, chief economist at Markit, told BBC News that the data - which came as a surprise to many analysts - proves that the US consumer "remains in an upbeat spending mood".

"The data adds to the view that the US economy continues to show reassuring resilience in the face of fiscal headwinds," he added.

By Gary Cooper

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