Thursday, April 14, 2011
Gas Prices Drive Retail Sales Up In March
Higher gas prices buoyed a 0.4 percent jump in retail sales in March, according to figures released by the Commerce Department on Wednesday.
Consumer spending, which makes up 70 percent of the U.S. economy, is up over 7 percent since last March and has risen for nine consecutive months. But, sales at gas stations accounted for almost 11 percent of overall retail sales in March.
In line with rising gas prices, sales at service stations increased by 2.6 percent in March after rising 2.4 percent in February. Excluding gas sales, retail sales were only up 0.1 percent in March, while in February, retail sales excluding gas were up 0.9 percent, Reuters reported, suggesting higher gas prices are forcing Americans to make tough spending choices elsewhere.