Latest retail numbers show strength

February retail sales increased 0.3 percent seasonally adjusted over January and 4.4 percent year-over-year as the economy continued to grow, the National Retail Federation said.

The numbers exclude automobiles, gasoline stations and restaurants, the group said in its March 14 announcement.

“Consumers are still in the driver’s seat,” the federation’s chief economist, Jack Kleinhenz, said in a statement.

“Month-to-month comparisons don’t tell the whole story because of seasonal adjustment factors, but the three-month moving average and other year-over-year numbers are better indicators that reflect how sales are really increasing,” he said.

The three-month moving average was also up 4.4 percent over the same period a year ago, the federation said.

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