There was a 1.1 percent increase in retail sales in February from January, the Census Bureau says. It was the largest rise in five months, Reuters reports.
And the gain didn't come just become rising gas prices led to a 3.3 percent increase in the value of gasoline sales. According to The Associated Press, retail sales rose 0.8 percent excluding gasoline.
Because consumers buy about 70 percent of the goods and services the economy produces, their demand is critical.