WASHINGTON — Retail sales in the U.S. increased by 6.5% as compared to the same period a year ago, the U.S. Commerce Department said Monday.
Grocery store sales increased 3% over the same period, the agency added. Building material and garden equipment and supply dealers, which saw sales improve by 14.1%, paced the overall sales gain and suggested milder weather in many parts of the country contributed to the sales uptick.
“Moderate retail sales growth in March will help offset murkier recent economic employment data.” Jack Kleinhenz, chief economist for the National Retail Federation, said in a statement. “We expect to see gains through the all-important summer months, but job and weak income growth coupled with stubbornly high gas costs will continue to force customers to make tough, price-sensitive choices.”