The numbers: Sales at U.S. retailers slowed sharply in February, rising a scant 0.3%, and Americans probably bought fewer goods like groceries, consumer electronics and furniture and after factoring in high inflation.
Economists polled by The Wall Street Journal had forecast a 0.4% advance.
The previously reported 3.8% increase in sales in January, however, was revised up to 4.9%, the government said Wednesday.
Taken together, the average increase in retail sales in the first two months of 2022 suggest the new year has gotten off to a decent start.
Retail sales are a big part of consumer spending and offer clues on the strength of the U.S. economy. Households are still buying plenty of goods and services to keep the economic recovery going, but in some cases consumers they are just paying more.
In February, the cost of living rose a sharp 0.8%, according to the consumer price index….