Washington, DC–(ENEWSPF)–April 16, 2012. The Commerce Department’s U.S. Census Bureau released retail sales data (PDF) for March 2012 this morning. Retail and food services sales were $411.1 billion, growing 0.8 percent from February to March 2012 and increasing 6.5 percent from one year earlier. This exceeds private-sector forecasts of an 0.3 percent monthly increase. Excluding automobiles, retail and food services sales in March were $338.1 billion, up 0.8 percent from February (compared with private sector expectations for 0.5 percent) and up 6.1 percent from March 2011.
“Retail sales posted another strong gain in March, exceeding private analysts’ expectations, and following solid growth in January and February of this year,” said U.S. Commerce Secretary John Bryson. “The strength in spending arises from the improving labor market and increased consumer confidence, but work remains to support efforts to create more American jobs. We must keep up this momentum toward an economy that is built to last–and that means standing up for the middle class and making our tax system fairer.”