NEW YORK – Retail sales, as measured by the Johnson Redbook Retail Sales Index, grew 2.9% in the week ended Feb. 18, after a 2.7% increase the week before, the group said Wednesday.
Month-to-date, February was up 2.7% compared to February of last year (relative to a target of a 2.8% gain). Month-over-month showed a 1.4% gain compared to January (relative to a target of a 1.5% gain).
“The latest week included last minute Valentine's Day demand and ended with Presidents Day promotions. Valentine's Day was a major draw for some general merchandise stores, attracting customers and creating spill-over business in other categories,” according to the report. “Certain discounters reported strong sales in traditional Valentine's Day items such as flowers and candy, and said the resulting increase in customer counts drove traffic in categories not directly related to the event, including: basic and seasonal apparel as well as food and household goods, all of which saw satisfactory business. Mild weather may have also helped to boost early sales of spring merchandise, adding a seasonal component to the week.”