Many retailers reported strong sales gains for February in the latest sign that Americans are feeling more confident in the economy.
As merchants reported their monthly sales figures Thursday, retailers including Target, Macy'sand Limited reported sales gains that exceeded Wall Street estimates.
The figures are based on revenue at stores opened at least a year and are considered an indicator of a retailer's health. Only a small group of retailers report monthly sales figures, but industry watchers say there's reason to be optimistic by looking at the numbers of those that do because they offer a snapshot of consumer spending, which accounts for more than 70 percent of all economic activity.
"No one is declaring victory yet. But there's general optimism in the air," said Arnold Aronson, managing director of retail strategies at consulting firm Kurt Salmon.
An unusually mild winter helped get people into stores to shop for close and shoes in February. But what had a bigger impact is the improving economy, which boosted shoppers' moods during the month to the highest level it's been at in a year, according to a widely-watched barometer of consumer confidence released yesterday by private research group the Conference Board.Page 1 of 3 | Next Page