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Stimulus Spurs March US Retail Sales

Apr 18, 2021 5:30 AM   By Rapaport News
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US retail sales rebounded strongly in March as consumers went out to spend the stimulus money they had received from the government, the National Retail Federation (NRF) said.

Revenue rose 28% year on year and 10% versus February’s total as consumer sentiment grew, according to data the US Census Bureau reported last week. Covid-19 vaccinations buoyed the economy and made it easier for shoppers to get out, the federation added.

“Today’s data confirms that people are going out and spending and that in-store traffic has picked up,” said NRF chief economist Jack Kleinhenz. “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.”

March marks the 10th month in which sales have grown year on year since the onset of the pandemic, the NRF noted. Compared to the previous month, sales increased across all nine of the categories the US Census Bureau monitors, while all but groceries also increased over the same period a year ago.

Online sales rose 31% compared to March 2020, and 6% versus February, while clothing and accessories, which includes jewelry sales, was up 105% year on year and 18% relative to the previous month. The NRF expects spending to continue to gain throughout the year.

“The dramatic increase...confirms that a confident consumer is driving the economic rebound, and that should continue through the remainder of 2021,” said NRF CEO Matthew Shay. “American households are clearly feeling the full effect of additional fiscal stimulus, gains in the job market and the reopening of the economy.”

Image: A crowded shopping mall in the US. (Shutterstock)
Tags: COVID-19, Jack Kleinhenz, Matthew Shay, National Retail Federation, NRF, Rapaport News, US Census Bureau, US retail sales
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