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Special Report

Retail Sales Research Brief

February 2023

Broad-Based Spending Gains Backstop
Retail Sector’s Favorable Outlook

All brick-and-mortar categories record monthly increases. Store-based retail sales, which exclude spending online and at restaurants and bars, climbed 1.7 percent in January, marking the largest monthly rise in nearly two years. Reversing a recent down trend, gains were widespread across store types, highlighted by notable improvements in furniture, appliance and clothing-related purchasing. This broad-based increase signals that consumers, while pressured by inflation, still have solid cash reserves and borrowing capacity following the holidays, a boon for near-term retail property performance. Further brightening the sector’s outlook, Social Security benefits rose by 8.7 percent at the onset of this year, a cost-of-living adjustment that will aid the spending power of approximately 70 million beneficiaries.

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