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Today the U.S. Census Bureau released preliminary estimates of nationwide retail sales in February 2022 and revised estimates for January 2022. (The data include both brick-and-mortar and Internet sales.)

Retail Sales Remain Elevated. Seasonally adjusted U.S. retail sales grew 0.3 percent from January to February. Retail sales have been elevated after growing dramatically in the early months of 2021. Cumulative twelve-month growth in sales from February 2021 to February 2022 was 17.6 percent.

Inflation-Adjusted Growth Much Lower. Across all goods and services purchased by consumers, seasonally adjusted U.S. prices grew 7.9 percent from February 2021 to February 2022. Prices for tangible goods—especially gasoline—grew faster than the 7.9 percent headline inflation number. These price increases have offset much of the apparent “growth” in retail sales.


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