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.”

SURGING AUTO INSURANCE PRICES ARE FUELING HIGHER INFLATION

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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