Spending at U.S. retailers rebounded in February, but consumers may be growing more cautious as they continue to face high interest rates and steeper prices for everyday goods.

Retail sales, a measure of how much consumers spent on a number of everyday goods including cars, food and gasoline, climbed 0.6% in February, the Commerce Department said Thursday. That is lower than both the 0.8% increase projected by LSEG economists and the revised 1.1% decline recorded in January.

Excluding the more volatile measurements of gasoline and autos, sales rose just 0.3% last month.

“Not a strong showing given a bigger rebound was expected from January,” said Robert Frick, corporate economist with Navy Federal Credit Union. “Consumers have the money, as inflation-adjusted incomes have been rising, so the question is, have consumers grown cautious? It’s too soon to say, but with inflation stuck for now above 3% and the jobs market growing tighter, that’s a possibility.”


The February advance is not adjusted for inflation, meaning that consumers may be spending the same but getting less bang for their buck.

This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.

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