April 12, 2024

March CNBC/NRF Retail Monitor Shows Steady Retail Sales Growth Amid Easing Inflation for Goods

WASHINGTON, April 12, 2024Retail sales grew at a steady pace in March, according to the CNBC/NRF Retail Monitor, powered by Affinity Solutions, released today by the National Retail Federation.

As inflation for goods levels off, March’s data demonstrates steady spending by value-focused consumers who continue to benefit from a strong labor market and real wage gains,” NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay said. “In this highly competitive market, retailers are having to keep prices as low as possible to meet the demand of consumers looking to stretch their family budget.”

Total retail sales, excluding automobiles and gasoline, were up 0.36% seasonally adjusted month over month and up 2.72% unadjusted year over year in March, according to the Retail Monitor. That compared with increases of 0.4% month over month and 2.7% year over year in February, based on the first 28 days in February. 

The Retail Monitor calculation of core retail sales – excluding restaurants in addition to automobiles and gasoline – was up 0.23% month over month and up 2.92% year over year in March. That compared with increases of 0.27% month over month and 2.99% year over year in February, based on the first 28 days in February.

For the first quarter, total retail sales were up 2.65% year over year and core sales were up 3.12%.

This is the sixth month that the Retail Monitor, which was launched in November, has provided data on monthly retail sales. Unlike survey-based numbers collected by the Census Bureau, the Retail Monitor uses actual, anonymized credit and debit card purchase data compiled by Affinity Solutions and does not need to be revised monthly or annually.

March sales were up in six out of nine retail categories on a yearly basis, led by online sales, sporting goods stores and health and personal care stores, and up in five categories on a monthly basis. Specifics from key sectors include: 

  • Online and other non-store sales were up 2.48% month over month seasonally adjusted and up 15.47% year over year unadjusted. 
  • Sporting goods, hobby, music and book stores were up 0.86% month over month seasonally adjusted and up 8.33% year over year unadjusted. 
  • Health and personal care stores were up 0.03% month over month seasonally adjusted and up 4.5% year over year unadjusted. 
  • Grocery and beverage stores were up 1.17% month over month and up 4.22% year over year unadjusted. 
  • General merchandise stores were up 0.13% month over month seasonally adjusted and up 3.38% year over year unadjusted. 
  • Clothing and accessories stores were down 0.01% month over month and up 2.13% year over year unadjusted. 
  • Building and garden supply stores were down 2.13% month over month and down 3.97% year over year unadjusted. 
  • Furniture and home furnishings stores were down 1.46% month over month seasonally adjusted and down 5.28% year over year unadjusted. 
  • Electronics and appliance stores were down 2.27% month over month seasonally adjusted and down 5.92% year over year unadjusted. 

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About NRF
The National Retail Federation passionately advocates for the people, brands, policies and ideas that help retail succeed. From its headquarters in Washington, D.C., NRF empowers the industry that powers the economy. Retail is the nation’s largest private-sector employer, contributing $3.9 trillion to annual GDP and supporting one in four U.S. jobs – 52 million working Americans. For over a century, NRF has been a voice for every retailer and every retail job, educating, inspiring and communicating the powerful impact retail has on local communities and global economies. 

About CNBC
CNBC is the recognized world leader in business news, providing real-time financial market coverage and business content consumed by more than half a billion people per month across all platforms. The network’s 15 live hours a day of news programming in North America (weekdays from 5:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m. ET) is produced at CNBC’s global headquarters in Englewood Cliffs, N.J., and includes reports from CNBC News bureaus worldwide. CNBC at night features a mix of reality programming, CNBC’s highly successful series produced exclusively for CNBC and a number of distinctive in-house documentaries.

CNBC also offers content through its vast portfolio of digital products such as:, which provides financial market news and information to CNBC’s investor audience; CNBC Make It, a digital destination focused on making you smarter about how you earn, save and spend your money; CNBC PRO, a premium service that provides in-depth access to Wall Street; a suite of CNBC mobile apps for iOS and Android devices; Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant and Apple Siri voice interfaces; and streaming services including Apple TV, Roku, Amazon Fire TV, Android TV and Samsung Smart TVs. To learn more, visit Members of the media can receive more information about CNBC and its programming on the NBCUniversal Media Village Web site at For more information about NBCUniversal, please visit

About Affinity Solutions
Affinity Solutions (Affinity) is the leading consumer purchase insights company. We provide a complete view of U.S. and U.K. consumer spending, across and between brands, via exclusive access to fully permissioned data from over 140 million debit and credit cards. This data is transformed into privacy-compliant, actionable intelligence for marketers, consultancies, and financial services companies to drive strategic growth and lasting customer relationships. Visit us at to discover how we’re shaping the future of consumer purchase insights.



NRF: J. Craig Shearman |

CNBC: Melissa Castro |

Affinity Solutions: Dewi Paulino |

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