Retail and food service sales hit $698 billion in February, a 0.4% decline from January, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, but certain categories performed spectacularly in year-over-year comparisons.
Food and beverage sales outperformed February 2022’s numbers by 15.3%, general merchandise stores rose by 10.5%, and personal care retailers were up by 8%. The lull in month-over-month tallies were affected by an especially active January, according to Naveen Jaggi, JLL’s president of retail advisory services.
“With declining foot traffic and inflation elevated at 6% above year-ago levels, we were not surprised to see sales decrease from January. Sales jumped 3.2% in the first month of the year, a huge improvement from the end of 2022.” Jaggi observed.
He foresees strong retail sales to continue through 2023, despite fears of consumer apprehension over the Silicon Valley Bank failure.
“We need to watch what’s going to happen in the banking sector and see how consumers react. But last March and April we were all worried about a recession that hasn’t happened. Retailers are still all go-go-go. No retailer I’ve spoken to has told me this is a time to pause,” Jaggi said.
His expectation is that this will be a verdant spring for the retail industry.
“As spring break approaches in March and April,” Jaggi said, “we expect retail sales to increase as consumers begin to travel more, shop for summer clothes, dine at restaurants and focus on experiences.”