Consumers Showed Less Affection for Spending in February as Discretionary Retail Sales Fell 4%, Reports Circana

Holiday-related retail sales peaks have been flattening since early 2022

CHICAGO, March 14, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Discretionary U.S. general merchandise retail sales revenue fell 4% in February 2023, when compared to February 2022, and unit sales were down 5%. Weekly declines have remained relatively consistent through the first two months of 2023, but the week leading up to Valentine’s Day exhibited the sharpest drop in sales so far, according to Circana, formerly IRI and The NPD Group.

“On the surface, consumer behavior has changed very little since last year, solidifying some of the overarching retail spending trends that emerged in 2022 as the new benchmark,” said Marshal Cohen, chief retail industry advisor for Circana. “But the consumer has become more loyal to value and meeting their fundamental needs, making more specific spending changes inevitable.”

Spending Changes Across General Merchandise and CPG

Consumers spent 9% more on food and beverage products than they did in February 2022. However, the gap between sales-revenue and unit-sales performance is narrowing, particularly among general merchandise and non-edible consumer packaged goods (CPG).

“While some retail consistency was established last year, volatility remains as rising food and beverage prices continue to strain discretionary spending power,” said Cohen, “As demand declines are becoming more similar across all of retail, marketers should be prepared for more changes to consumer spending on the horizon.”




About Circana

Circana is the leading advisor on the complexity of consumer behavior. Through unparalleled technology, advanced analytics, cross-industry data and deep expertise, we provide clarity that helps almost 7,000 of the world’s leading brands and retailers take action and unlock business growth. We understand more about the complete consumer, the complete store, and the complete wallet so our clients can go beyond the data to apply insights, ignite innovation, meet consumer demand and outpace the competition. Learn more at


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