On a monthly basis, retail sales increased 1.1% from January to February (seasonally adjusted), and sales were up 4.6% from February 2012. From the Census Bureau report:
The U.S. Census Bureau announced today that advance estimates of U.S. retail and food services sales for February, adjusted for seasonal variation and holiday and trading-day differences, but not for price changes, were $421.4 billion, an increase of 1.1 percent from the previous month and 4.6 percent (±0.7%) above February 2012. …The December 2012 to January 2013 percent change was revised from +0.1 percent to +0.2 percent.
Sales for December were revised up to a 0.2% gain.
This graph shows retail sales since 1992. This is monthly retail sales and food service, seasonally adjusted (total and ex-gasoline).
Retail sales are up 27.2% from the bottom, and now 11.2% above the pre-recession peak (not inflation adjusted)
Retail sales ex-autos increased 1.0%. Retail sales ex-gasoline increased 0.6%.
Excluding gasoline, retail sales are up 23.5% from the bottom, and now 11.0% above the pre-recession peak (not inflation adjusted).
Retail sales ex-gasoline increased by 4.8% on a YoY basis (4.6% for all retail sales).
This was above the consensus forecast of a 0.5% increase. Although higher gasoline prices boosted sales, retail sales ex-gasoline increased 0.6% – suggesting some pickup in the economy in February.