Retail, restaurant franchises see a boost in sales during March
Retail, restaurant franchises see a boost in sales during March

Data showed an uptick in consumer spending last month.

U.S. consumers are still a cautious bunch, but a new report should give franchise owners reason to smile, especially those operating in the clothing and restaurant industries.

Data from the Commerce Department showed that sales at retailers and restaurants rose 0.9 percent during March on a seasonally adjusted basis, rising to $441.4 billion.

While a net positive for America’s business owners, not everyone is pleased with the modest gain.

“This outcome confounds all the standard consumer-spending models,” J.P. Morgan Chase Chief U.S. Economist Michael Feroli told The Wall Street Journal. “Job gains, wealth gains, low gas prices and very high consumer sentiment would all point to solid consumer spending increases.”

Still, sales increases mark an occasion for celebration as the U.S. continues its steady recovery from spending declines seen over the past few years.

Warmer weather is also playing a positive role, according to Lisa Kornstein, founder of the Scout & Molly’s boutique clothing franchise.

“The door is propped open and we’ve had a consistent stream of traffic all day,” Kornstein told the Journal. “The economy is doing better…and I think people had a little bit of cabin fever.”

It remains to be seen if sales will continue to rise with the temperature, but franchise operators certainly have a basis for optimism based on the latest numbers.

Read the full Wall Street Journal article here.