Retailers — particularly those geared toward the outdoor lifestyle — did much better in February than they did a year ago, according to new figures released by the U.S. Department of Commerce. The numbers indicate that retail sales, overall, were 8.6 percent higher than February 2011. At building material, garden equipment and supplies dealers, the news was even better. Sales jumped 18.2 percent over February 2011.
Matthew Shay, president and CEO of the National Retail Federation, attributed the jumps to unseasonably warm weather across most of the country. “Though February is typically a month for consumers to stay home and wait for spring, shoppers this year took advantage of mild weather to get a head start on outdoor projects and warm-weather apparel,” he said.
Pent-up demand for consumer goods was also credited for the stronger results at retail. According to the NRF, it was the 20th straight month of seasonally-adjusted growth at retail.
In Oregon, stronger consumer demand was reflected in the attendance at the recent, OAN-produced Yard, Garden & Patio Show, where admissions were up 6 percent, and sales in the Remarkable Green Market were up a whopping 46 percent.