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Retail sales show growth, bring optimism

Retail sales show growth, bring optimism

Many analysts waited with bated breath to see how February retail sales would fare. While stores have been pulling out all the stops to bring in potential consumers, some financial experts were concerned that the recent social security tax increase would leave people with less spending money.

However, The Associated Press reports that Americans actually came to the stores in droves during the month of February. So much so that the news source indicates that this is the fastest pace for shoppers in the past five months, with an increase of 1.1 percent since January.

Economists told the news provider that this good news could improve the outlook for the entire quarter.

"This all suggests that the hit to spending from the payroll tax cut and higher gasoline prices, which reduce the amount of cash available to spend on other items, hasn't been too bad," Paul Dales, senior United States economist at Capital Economics, told the AP. "The recent pickup in both employment and earnings growth bodes well for consumption growth later in the year, too."

The Week reports previous predictions suggested that retail spending would only increase by 0.5 percent last month, so this may be a good indication for store managers who are worried about moving their merchandise.

How a manager can increase sales
Managers may be wondering what they can do to draw crowds into their stores. Retail Minded suggests marking down items that have been slow to leave the shelves. To draw in customers, managers should set up a display table at the front of their store and fill it with sale items. They should be sure to properly mark the discount to catch the eyes of passersby. This way, budget-conscious consumers will be drawn into the store for the discount, and can then check out full-priced merchandise.

In an effort to increase the average total sale, the news provider suggests having lots of other items by the cash wrap. These can be small items, ranging from practical to just plain fun. This way, when a cashier is ringing up a customer, he or she can add on to the sale by making the consumer aware about some of the other products available in the store.