The news: US retail sales grew 5.4% year-over-year (YoY) in February, per the US Commerce Department’s monthly report. Excluding auto and gas, sales rose 7.9%.
Differing perspectives: When you look at YoY retail sales numbers (particularly over a two-month span), it is fairly easy to adopt a relatively optimistic outlook.
Another way to look at what’s going on is to gauge executive sentiment.
Slowing growth: The reality—which many retailers recognize—is that while the bottom has not fallen out of the US economy, growth will likely slow this year.
The big takeaway: While most media reports focus on MoM retail sales numbers, we find that perspective is often noisy. Zooming out to look YoY, or YoY across multiple months, you can see that consumers continue to spend. But with inflation continuing to eat into consumers’ spending power, many are pulling back on discretionary spending.
This article originally appeared in Insider Intelligence's Retail & Ecommerce Briefing—a daily recap of top stories reshaping the retail industry. Subscribe to have more hard-hitting takeaways delivered to your inbox daily.