More shots in arms, more people out shopping, data shows

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Americans are spending more money.

Data from the U.S. Census Bureau shows retail sales are up 10% from last month. Spending from March 2021 exceeded $600 billion dollars, which is a more than 25% increase from this time last year.

Shoppers said they have noticed more people out. 

“I think people are getting more comfortable with vaccine out, Morgan Finn, a visitor from Arkansas, said. “Regardless if they have got it or not, they’re still more comfortable.” 

Moosejaw on the Plaza specializes in recreation gear both indoor and outdoor and sales are up.

Andrew Ball, senior assistant manager, said most people come in with a specific item in mind. 

“We are seeing a lot of trends with climbing has been the biggest one, which is usually indoor activity,” Ball said. “We see people getting climbing shoes, climbing harnesses that sort of thing and lot of backpacks, as well as child carriers.” 

According to the National Retail Federation, the biggest gains are at Sporting Goods stores. Clothing stores are also seeing substantial changes with a more than 100% increase in sales from last year because many were completely shut down for two months in 2020.

At Bunker in Westport, a local retail store, Manager Drew Ball said more people are coming in adding to their spring and summer wardrobe.

Ball said the increase isn’t quite enough to make up for 2020 losses, but it’s getting closer to the mark which allows people to stay employed. 

“For ourselves and all of our employees without the store open, they don’t have a job and that makes it real hard to put food on the table and rent in the mail,” Ball said. “So, having things starting to open back up is really nice.” 

With more shots in arms, and lower unemployment rates, shoppers said it’s a good sign to see people out spending money. 

“A lot of those mom-and-pop businesses are on the borderline of failing,” a shopper who didn’t give his name said. “So this is good for folks to come out give back to the community, contribute and make it hopeful for everyone.” 

The NRF expects people to spend more than $28 billion to celebrate Mother’s Day, estimated spending is up more than $1 billion dollars compared to last year.

Experts say spending on jewelry and electronics is driving the increase. 

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