“Consumer spending expanded in most Districts, but several Districts reported mixed or lower activity among non-auto retailers. Sales strengthened in the Philadelphia and Richmond Districts, and retail sales were higher than a year ago in the Boston, St. Louis, and Minneapolis Districts.
San Francisco reported modest growth in sales, Dallas noted flat to slightly higher sales activity, and New York said retail sales were strong in January but slowed in February primarily due to weather. The Chicago District said consumer spending increased at a slower rate, while Cleveland and Atlanta noted mixed sales activity.
Kansas City said retail sales decreased since the previous survey period and were expected to remain flat in the months ahead. Many District contacts commented on the expired payroll tax holiday and the Affordable Care Act as having restrained sales growth.
Many Districts noted rising gasoline prices and fiscal policy as having a negative effect on consumer sales, and contacts in the Boston, New York, and Minneapolis Districts said severe weather depressed sales somewhat.
Contacts in several Districts reported a shift in sales activity from local malls to the Internet and indicated deep discounting among retailers was becoming increasingly common. San Francisco noted somewhat soft sales for traditional retail grocers, whose competition has increased from discount and online retailers….”Twitter