U.S. retailers continue to ring up sales

2003, eclipsing last week’s similarly strong 25.5% increase, reports ShopperTrak’s National Retail Sales Estimate (NRSE). The last two weeks have put February year-over-year sales on pace to grow by 20.3% over the same month last year.

In addition, week-over-week sales for the period ending Feb. 21 fell by 0.6% on the heels of a strong Valentine’s week performance.

“Consumer demand continues to be surprisingly robust in February, which may signal that the underlying economy is improving,” said Michael Niemira, chief economist and director of research for the International Council of Shopping Centers. “Clearly, the recent weakness in consumer confidence reported by a number of experts is not reflected in consumer spending trends.”

Developed by ShopperTrak, the NRSE provides a nationwide benchmark of retail sales. It is derived from the U.S. Commerce Department’s GAFO (general merchandise, apparel, furniture, sporting goods, electronics, hobby, books and other related store sales) statistic, as well as ShopperTrak’s proprietary industry intelligence on shopper movement and sales statistics.