Consumers head back to stores in February, pushing up sales: Mastercard

Mar. 09, 2022 8:08 AM ETBAC, SIXBy: Liz Kiesche, SA News Editor1 Comment

Woman checking smartphone while shopping

Thomas Barwick/DigitalVision via Getty Images

U.S. consumer spending in February increased from January's pace, with retail spending (excluding auto) rising 8.7% Y/Y and 17% vs. the prepandemic level in 2019, according to the Mastercard SpendingPulse report.

The numbers reflect the higher inflation rate and a wardrobe makeover as office workers return to the office.

In-store sales rose 10% Y/Y in February and 8.0% vs prepandemic. Ecommerce sales climbed 4.4% Y/Y and 86% from 2019 as the shift to digital persists at a slowing pace.

Apparel sales rose 38% Y/Y and 34% vs. prepandemic. Department store sales bounced up last month, rising 26% Y/Y and 3.4% from prepandemic levels.

"Despite inflation, consumers are putting their record savings to work and expressing themselves through fashion again — much to the benefit of the apparel, department store, luxury and jewelry verticals, according to Mastercard SpendingPulse," said Steve Sadove, senior advisor for Mastercard and former CEO and chairman of Saks.

On the expectation of strong consumer spending this spring and summer, Deutsche Bank upgraded Six Flags Entertainment (NYSE:SIX) to Buy last week.

On Tuesday, Bank of America (NYSE:BAC) said strong consumer spending continued in February as its consumer clients made $294B in payments.

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