NEW YORK (AP) — Retailers are reporting modest sales gains for February as consumers, uninspired by cool weather and worried about the economy, shopped cautiously for spring merchandise.
Overall, 14 retailers reported on Thursday that revenue at stores open at least a year — an indicator of retail health — rose an average of 4.1 percent, according to the International Council of Shopping Centers, an industry trade group. That compares with a 5.1 percent increase in January, and a rise of 6.7 percent in February 2012.
Costco Wholesale Corp. reported strong sales that beat analysts' expectations, but several other chains such as Ross Stores Inc. and Fred's Inc. posted declines.
Economists closely monitor consumer spending because it accounts for more than 70 percent of economic activity.