March Retail Sales See Strong Rebound
April 16, 2021
sales rebounded with huge gains in March as government
checks fattened consumers’ bank accounts and more
vaccination against COVID-19 made it easier for shoppers to
get out of the house and lead the acceleration of the U.S.
economy, the National Retail Federation said today.
“Today’s data confirms reports that people are going out and
spending and that in-store traffic has picked up,” NRF Chief
Economist Jack Kleinhenz said. “After a disappointing
February, there was a perfect alignment of factors
supporting a surge in shopping in March. Further reopening
of the economy was encouraged by economic stimulus payments,
the public health situation improved with more vaccinations,
employment grew and there was seasonal activity around
Passover, Easter and spring break. Even with some stimulus
money going to savings, consumers’ finances are healthy, and
they are willing to spend. Retail sales supported by
rigorous fiscal and monetary policy continue to be a bright
spot in the economy and have provided momentum during this
Sporting goods stores were up 23.5 percent month-over-month seasonally adjusted and up 78.2 percent unadjusted year-over-year.
Furniture and home furnishings stores were up 5.9 percent month-over-month seasonally adjusted and up 49.6 percent unadjusted year-over-year.
Building materials and garden supply stores were up 12.1 percent month-over-month seasonally adjusted and up 32.4 percent unadjusted year-over-year.
Online and other non-store sales were up 6 percent month-over-month seasonally adjusted and up 30.7 percent unadjusted year-over-year.
Health and personal care stores were up 5.7 percent month-over-month seasonally adjusted and up 7.7 percent unadjusted year-over-year.
General merchandise stores were up 9 percent month-over-month seasonally adjusted and up 6.1 percent unadjusted year-over-year.
Grocery and beverage stores were up 0.7 percent month-over-month seasonally adjusted but down 10.2 percent unadjusted year-over-year.
March’s gains come as NRF is forecasting that 2021 retail sales will increase between 6.5 percent and 8.2 percent over 2020, for a total between $4.33 trillion and $4.4 trillion. Retail sales during 2020 increased 6.6 percent despite the pandemic, beating the previous record growth rate of 6.3 percent in 2004.