Retail Sales Friday, Mar. 11, 8:30 A.M.

Retail sales in February are expected to show a gain of 0.3%, according to the MMS median projection. The gain would be a small turnaround from the 0.5% decline that sales had posted in January. Excluding motor vehicles, the economists also expect a 0.3% increase. More bad weather in February appears to have been a slight depressant on sales. Nevertheless, if the forecast is on the mark, buying in the first quarter is still running ahead of the fourth-quarter level, suggesting that consumers will continue to contribute to growth in the first quarter, although at a slower pace.

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