US retail sales showed their largest gain since September as the economic and financial outlook stabilized, according to the National Retail Federation (NRF).
Total purchase value grew 3.6% year on year in March, with sales rising in nearly every retail sector on a month-to-month basis, the trade organization reported earlier this week. The Conference Board’s Leading Economic Index — which is intended to forecast future economic activity — rose 0.4% for the month.
“The index’s increase — driven by declining initial unemployment claims, rising consumer expectations for business conditions, and gains in financial components — suggests that the economy is poised for gains in the months ahead,” NRF noted.
The general improvement follows a slowdown in sales at specialist jewelry stores in the first two months of the year. Combined sales for the store category in January and February fell 5% year on year, according to data from the US Census Bureau. Jewelry figures for March are not yet available.
The US retail forecast for April is positive, as sentiment continues to rise, the NRF said.
“Consumer outlook remains healthy and spending looks steady,” it added. Source – www.diamonds.net Rapaport